John LockeTwo Treatises On Government Essay

This essay has a total of 591 words and 6 pages.

John LockeTwo Treatises On Government

History 1AO6—Kimi Marie Shibata
John Locke (1632-1704)
an empiricist (science, fact based)

“Two Treatises On Government” (1690)


Self-evident, universal laws, including inherent rights of life, liberty and property.
(This influenced the American Constitution)

In the state of nature, man is a TABULA RASA (blank slate), devoid of original sin, born
neither good nor bad. Born free, innocent, with inherent rights. Evil instilled by
environment, such as parenting and education.

(This influenced 18th Century philosophes, who tried to change institutions, politics,
social welfare in order to better society.)

Although people are all equal from birth, sometimes age or virtue should give someone
more power in certain situations: i.e./ Children are weak, powerless at birth. With a
child in this imperfect state, the parents are obliged to take control, and to understand
things for the child, until he/she is capable of reasoning and doing things him/herself.

People give up their perfect state of free nature, along with some of their power, in
order to gain security and protection of their property: i.e./ life, possessions, estate.
They are also drawn together because of their basic nature to want to be with other
humans, part of God’s design.

The three things lacking in a state of nature are:
An established, settled, known law
A known and indifferent judge
Power to back and support the sentence when right


If one enjoys the freedom and protection of a certain society, (Even if only for a day)
he/she automatically becomes a part of it, and is obliged to follow its rules, whether or
not he/she explicitly asks to join that society.

Anyone who becomes part of a society without explicitly consenting to its rules may
leave at any time and join another society, whereas, anyone who expressly gives his
consent to be a part of a society is stuck. He/she cannot go back to the laws of nature,
and must abide by his/her government’s laws forever, or until the government

All members of a society must go along with majority rule, as that is part of being a member of society.

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