John Locke And The Second Treatise Of Government

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John Locke, a prominent English philosopher and author of the now infamous Second Treatise of Government, is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers and revolutionary figures during the age of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries, which emphasized reason and individualism as opposed to tradition. In the Second Treatise, Locke introduced and promoted many innovative ideas, such as the governments’ role in protecting its’ citizens natural rights, the idea of forming social contract based on the consent of the governed, and the right of the people to overthrow a government or ruler that did not properly protect their rights, all of which played a huge role in the…show more content…
Locke considers these three rights to be the most valuable rights of a citizen that must be upheld by the government at all times, especially that of protecting one’s own property. More specifically. Lock explains that “the labor of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his.” Here, Locke argues that anything produced from one’s own labor should, and justifiably so, considered his own property (Locke, p.36, 37). Theoretically, if Locke’s statement were to be true, it meant that anything a slave produced through his own labor rightfully belonged to the slave and not his master. In such a case, a slave’s owner can not dictate how a slave acted upon his own property. Although slavery continued in the following years to come , Locke’s statement foreshadows the eventual abolishment of all of slavery throughout the world in the 18th and 19th centuries. rights of a citizen that must be upheld by the government at all times. (Locke, p.…show more content…
Throughout the Declaration of Independence, in which Jefferson emphatically declared America’s independence from Great Britain., Jefferson, indirectly, alludes to Locke many times through intertextualities (Mancia, Class, 9/30/15). For instance, Jefferson infamously declares that “all men are created equal,” and as such, they are all given “certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is impeccably similar to Locke’s natural rights claim in the Second Treatise ,with the only difference being that Jefferson leaves out “property” and instead, replaces it with “pursuit of happiness.” PWH, 664). Additionally, like Locke, Jefferson believes that the government is created to simply protect their people’s rights and that if the government does not protect these rights and becomes abusive in its powers, the people have a right to abolish the government and form a new government as they see fit. Furthermore, there also seems to be some parallels between Locke’s Second Treatise, Jefferson’s declaration, the French’s declaration, as all three documents express the idea of the “consent of the governed”(Declaration of R.M.&C, p.91; Jefferson, p.
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