New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

POL 161 A Letter of Toleration: John Locke Notes

by: Hailey True

POL 161 A Letter of Toleration: John Locke Notes POL 161.001

Marketplace > Illinois State University > Political Science > POL 161.001 > POL 161 A Letter of Toleration John Locke Notes
Hailey True

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

These are notes of the entire book
Introduction to Political Theory
Jakeet Singh
POL 161, Political Theory, John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration
75 ?




Popular in Introduction to Political Theory

Popular in Political Science

This 6 page Bundle was uploaded by Hailey True on Monday April 4, 2016. The Bundle belongs to POL 161.001 at Illinois State University taught by Jakeet Singh in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 21 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Political Theory in Political Science at Illinois State University.

Similar to POL 161.001 at ISU

Popular in Political Science


Reviews for POL 161 A Letter of Toleration: John Locke Notes


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 04/04/16
A Letter Concerning Toleration­ John Locke  Relationship between morality and politics o 5 questions (so far)  What is the morality of obedience and disobedience?  Can/should political leaders be moral? Can/should moral persons be  involved in politics?  What are the problems and goals of politics? Are they the same as, or  different than the problems and goals of morality and religion?  For Plato, they are the same realm, harmonized  For Machiavelli, they are distinct and need different approaches.  Should political institutions teach and promote morality and/or religion?  How far spread political institutions be involved in teaching and  promoting moral and religious beliefs  Plato put a lot of effort into promotion of morality  Locke will say politics and religion should not be mixed in that  way/extent. Politics should not be charged with promoting and  enforcing morality.  What should citizens do when their morality, religion, and/or conscience  conflicts with politics/law?  Socrates tackles disobedience   Locke will deal with the law commanding you do something  against your religious conscience.   Introduction o Approaches to religious conflict  2 common approaches to religious division and conflict in Locke’s time  Governments and churches should seek to impose a single religion  on all members of the society o Not Locke’s approach; actually thought that this was the  cause of the problem.  Governments and churches tolerate religious diversity o Locke’s approach   If everyone learned to tolerate everyone’s religious  groups, then this would put an end to religious  divisions and conflicts. Religious Toleration  Letters o 3 main reasons why government should not be involved in religion  Religion is about inner persuasion and sincere belief   Inner faith, inner relationship with God  Matters most; not external actions  No one can be in charge of another’s soul  Religious belief cannot be compelled by force, but only by argument and  reason. Government, however, is essentially a realm of force and therefore cannot promote religion.   Even if the force to government could compel belief, this wouldn’t further  the causes of salvation  Religious affairs are not something government knows much about salvation than anyone else, therefore they will still disagree with  one another   They are looking out for their own political goals and ambitions o Hard to trust them to look out for your salvation o Also, what Machiavelli argues   Use religion to further your political goals  Government should only care for the things of this would, no of  the world to come (pg. 28) o Therefore, separate church and state  Settle the bounds between them in order to settle religious conflicts (pg.  26)  The two realms are ‘perfectly distinct’, boundaries are ‘fixed and  immovable’ (pg. 33)  Watertight compartments  2 separate jurisdictions  They are distinct in their original (origins), end, business, and every other  thing. (pg 33) o What is a church  A free and voluntary society/association, created to care for our souls and  to achieve salvation (pg. 28)  Concerned with the next world, or the immoral life, not this worldly,  temporal life.   Right of exit is always available to all members   Has rules, but its strongest power of enforcement is excommunication and  revocation of membership (pg. 30)  Does no use force, but instead operates through love, teaching,  admonishing, persuasion, exhorting, and advising.   Cannot harm others in their worldly goods, and generally should not be  concerned with worldly issues of political and economic life.  However, seems to be a radical concept to have religion separate from  worldly life.  Many teachings influence a sense of economic and political duties. o What is government  A contractual association among citizens to join their forces together to  protect and uphold every individuals’ natural rights to life, liberty, and  property, as well as the public good  Locke is called a social contract theorist o Implicit by everyone, not voluntary o Agreed to give up use of violence forces  Also, a natural rights theorist (pg. 26) o Everyone is born with God given natural rights  Life, liberty, and property  God gives these rights but they are insecure because there is not authority to enforce  Others can infringe  Government needed to protect these natural  rights, to execute the law of these natural  rights.   Civil interests (pg. 26) o Everyone has interest in protecting  these in interest of their worldly life o These rights provide for the comfort, prosperity, and happiness of this  (worldly) life, and are not concerned  with religious doctrines/truths.   Protects what each person gains through his/her industry, as well as each  person’s freedom of religion.  Gain economic property and people do not harm you in your  property  Provides defense against “the rapine and fraud of foreigners”  Pg. 47­48  Summary of what is government  Protects life, liberty, and property by using law, force, punishment, and compulsion o What government is created for  Minimal, limited government which must stay within the bounds  of the law of nature o Government no more, no less is to protect laws of nature  (life, liberty, and property) o But notice…  Even though Locke spends most of his time on the separation on state and  church (laws, protection, and jurisdictions).  Not just the institutions of being separate, there is a separation  within each person between the religious aspects and the political  lives. Internal to each person  Locke’s separation between the institutions of church and state is also a  separation within each person’s life regarding his/her worldly concerns  and his/her other­worldly (spiritual) concerns.  each person has two different employments in lives; look after  soul, look after existence on Earth.  Calls upon each of us to compartmentalize our religious  beliefs/pursuits from our economic and political beliefs/pursuits. o Why it may not be natural to separate these 2 lives as an  individual o Pg. 47 at the top to middle  Religion should become a private and individual  affair  Way to relate to your neighbor and  individual affair.  People need to learn to stop caring so much  about the religious practices of those around  us. Not a public concern if yours over other  people.   Locke thinks during this time violence was  partly caused because everyone thought it  was their responsibility to ‘save’ everyone  else (pg. 34)  Don’t be concerned with neighbors’ souls o Individual value, way of acting o Tolerate your neighbors o By the end, however, it turns out that the watertight compartments are not so  watertight  There will be times when there are conflicts between religion and politics  The reality  2 arguments: conflicts between government and religious conscience)  Isolate cases of conflict between law and individual conscience.  o Pg. 48  What happens if a government passes a law that  seems unlawful to the conscience of the individual?  Government is fully within its jurisdictions  but just so happens to pass some kind of law that will feel like a violation of some  person’s individual liberties. For the public  good still. o Ex: military draft  Won’t happen if government does its job  well  These conflicts will be “managed by law” o Law that government has passed is  legitimate.  Obligation to God must come first for citizens   Civil disobedience, conscientious objection  or abstain  But secondary obligation to law because the law is  legit, you must accept the punishment.  Sustained religious oppression by government o Broader issue/argument for Locke o When a government becomes tyrannical and oppressive of  individuals religious lives o Some governments will consistently exceed their proper  authority to become oppressive and tyrannical  Not protecting natural, God given, rights  Nor even government has this authority o These conflicts are “managed by force”  Because law is of no effect here o In most cases a government will have more force than  everyday people. Therefore more often than not,  government will win.   God will ultimately win, settle out the score, but on  Earth it will be dealt with force o If this violation keeps happening through a long train of  abuses, the people will rise up and seek to overthrow this  tyrant government. May win battle of force  Armed revolution of the people may be justified to  overthrow an oppressive and tyrannical  government. (pg. 55)  Right of Rebellion o Oppression is the chief cause of religious conflict, not  religion (pg. 52)  In response to critics that say if you give right to  rebel, that is the cause of religious violence.   People should obey and respect their  government’s authority  Locke says religious freedom will end religious conflicts  Locke says to Right to Rebel will keep governments in check; government will know that they will be met with force if they overstep their bounds.  Lack of liberty and toleration is the cause of conflict  Oppressed in the name of Religion, that’s why they rise up in the name of Religion. o Question: How can Locke justify revolutionary violene, when he has argued that violence is a violation of Christianity?  Goes back to the separation of religion and politics within the individual. Oppression of religion is a violation of rights of liberty which falls under the realm of politics. Violence is necessary in politics. Force is needed to enforce rights of liberty. Justify fighting in name of liberty, not religion. Separation/ compartmentalize the individual. 


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

75 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Steve Martinelli UC Los Angeles

"There's no way I would have passed my Organic Chemistry class this semester without the notes and study guides I got from StudySoup."

Kyle Maynard Purdue

"When you're taking detailed notes and trying to help everyone else out in the class, it really helps you learn and understand the I made $280 on my first study guide!"

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"


"Their 'Elite Notetakers' are making over $1,200/month in sales by creating high quality content that helps their classmates in a time of need."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.