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John Locke Extensive Notes on 2nd Treatise

by: Jessica McCall

John Locke Extensive Notes on 2nd Treatise POSC 1030

Marketplace > Clemson University > Political Science > POSC 1030 > John Locke Extensive Notes on 2nd Treatise
Jessica McCall
GPA 3.5
Introduction to Political Theory
Dr. Brandon Turner

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Extensive notes on the material in Locke's Second Treatise
Introduction to Political Theory
Dr. Brandon Turner
Study Guide
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Jessica McCall on Sunday November 15, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to POSC 1030 at Clemson University taught by Dr. Brandon Turner in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 40 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Political Theory in Political Science at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 11/15/15
Against Thomas Filmer refute divine right of sovereignty EVERYONE IS EQUAL He defines political power as the right to make laws these laws are backed by the community for the public good for the protection and regulation of property Property includes life and libertyselfownership Locke s state of nature is a state of equality in which no one has power over another and all are free to do as they please does not mean you can abuse others People are in a state of nature until a special agreement is made between them and members of a political society In his state of nature no person has control over another natural law governs and renders all people equal and every individual holds the executive power of natural law His state of nature is under the assumption that there is a system of moralityderived from the theory of justice set of rights Defines war as a state of enmity and destruction brought about by one person39s premeditated attempts upon another39s life law of selfpreservation may kill another person in self defense based on the assumption that any aggression by a person against another challenges that person39s freedom a threat to their liberty State of nature does NOT equal a state of war State of nature involves people living together governed by reason without a common superior State of war occurs when people make designs of force upon people WITHOUT common authority In this case the attacked party has a right to war or to rebel Want of a common judge or authority is the defining characteristic of the state of nature force without right consent is adequate basis for the state of war Locke notes that in a presence of a common authority that fails to act justly the only possible state is a state of war because arbitrary power is itself a violation of the laws of nature and justice Ends chapter by saying the major reason people enter into society is to avoid the state of war for the presence of a supreme power limits the necessity for war and increases stability and security Chapter 4 starts by defining natural liberty as a person39s right to be ruled solely by the laws of nature and social liberty as the right to be under no legislative power other than that founded by the consent of the commonwealth for the benefit of the commonwealth Slavery based on idea of freedom from the arbitrary Absolute power is so fundamental even if one tried it cannot be relinquished So it is IMPOSSIBLE to enlist into slavery voluntarily Only possible state is the extension of the state of war between a lawful conqueror and a captive when the captive has been FORCED into obedience Locke uses the term war synonymously with conflict clashes between individuals In the state of nature the absence of authority requires individuals to protect themselves In society however victims can appeal to a common authority for resolution of disputes Locke s definition of what constitutes justifies and ends a state of war continues his explication of the natural foundation of government LOCKE BASIS ALOT OF HIS IDEAS ON THE BASIS OF RIGHT TO PERSONAL LIBERTY he equates liberty with property PROPERTY since it is the same as liberty is the one of the most important subject in the second treatise because of natural rights people have a right to fight against a government that fails to represent their best interest Locke argues against Hobbes in the sense that he says they have the right to respond to unjust leadership In Chapter 4 Locke defines social liberty as the agreement to live in a commonwealth under a central authority given a trust to act in the best interest of the commonwealth which is given by consent the legislative power can only act according to the trust put in it he assumes that people are RATIONAL they know their best interest Contrary to Hobbes Locke sees personal liberty as the key component of a society that works toward the individual and the commonwealth s best interest Locke states that the earth is property of people in common to use for their survival and benefit He then asks a key question if the earth and everything on it is the common property of humankind how does one have individual property For individual property to exist there must be a means by which individuals appropriate the things around them He starts off by saying each person owns his or her own body and all of the labor that they perform with their body When an individual adds their own labor which they own to an object or good the object becomes their own because they have added their labor each individual does so reasonably He puts a constraint on this though a person may only acquire as many things as they can reasonably use to their advantage Don t overextend your natural right of acquisition ONLY TAKE WHAT YOU CAN USE WITHOUT WASTE the law of subsistence Locke defines labor as the determining factor of value the tool by which humans make their world a more advantageous and rewarding to inhabit Money fulfills the need for imperishable value of worth rooted in labor 0 money is backed by labor 0 and once trade is established it is logical for people to want a good of a common value to trade for ALL goods eading to the need for money Limitations placed on property by Locke One must put their labor into something to claim it one cannot take more than they can use and money goes above both 0 money transcends the rule of subsistence and labor The governing factor in a civil society must be the majority When you enter society the individual submits to the majority and agrees to abide by the rules and decisions of the majority He goes on to address two hypothetical arguments 1 First he discusses the lack of historical precedence for government by majority rule He counters by giving modern examples What happens to those without property state of nature favors those with money and they enter a state of society to protect themselves what about people without property In order for the system to be advantageous those without property must be excluded from its privileges but it is still protected and subject to law the beginning of politic society depends on the consent of the individuals to join and make one society he gives the example of the paternal model conquest is not consent Nature lacks three things which just civil societies have 1 an established settled known law 2 a known and indifferentjudge 3 and the power to back and support the sentence In order to establish these things you must relinquish your natural right including your right to do what you wish within the bounds of nature and the power to punish the crimes committed against them He gives a reason for giving consent giving up natural freedom to enter society is to protect their lives liberties and estates all of which are considered property First right is given up by submitting oneself to the laws of the civil society which are stricter than those of nature Second right is given up totally in favor of putting oneself under the protection of the executive power of the society Locke finishes by the noting that this system has three characteristics a law a judge and executive that is working for the peace safety and public good of the people This is the first half of the Second treatise o Locke has defined the state of nature 0 outlined the formation and goals of a just civil society 0 and the principles behind society Review of the First Half In a state of nature people are completely free and independent Everyone is subject to natural law and may execute that law when someone threatens his or her natural rights People amass property in the state of nature first by adding labor to the land then by bartering and eventually developing money and acquiring the ability to gather large amounts of property together at this point natural law is no longer an adequate protection for the property and liberty of individuals so people enter into civil society to protect themselves by entering into society people relinquish their freedom under natural law and their right to execute law Instead they establish a judicial power to solve disputes between members of society a set of laws that all members of society must obey and an executive power to maintain and enforce the law This commonwealth is valid as long as the three common powers serve to the best advantage of all of those who relinquished their rights to join it He is good at supporting all of his ideas with references to divine law or higher moral imperatives REMEMBER PROPERTY ALWAYS PREDOMINATES The elevation of property is noted that the desire to protect property drives people to enter a society Government forms when people start acquiring and amassing large amounts of property since those with property need a higher central authority to protect it


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