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Locke State Of Nature Analysis

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The one thing on which Locke lays great emphasis throughout the Treatise is that the chief end or purpose for which the state or commonwealth is formed is making secure to the citizens the natural right to life, liberty and property which they had in the state of nature.
In this state of nature, according to Locke, men were born free and equal: free to do what they wished without being required to seek permission from any other man, and equal in the sense of there being no natural political authority of one man over another. He quickly points out, however, that "although it is a state of liberty, it is not a state of license," because it is ruled over by the law of nature which everyone is obliged to obey. While Locke is not very specific about the content of the law of nature, he is clear on a few specifics. First, that "reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it" and second, that it teaches primarily that "being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life liberty or possessions." Hence, right from the beginning, Locke places the right to possessions on the same level as the right to life, health, and liberty.
We can say that Locke conceived all the natural rights as things which an individual brings with him from birth, and consequently as indefeasible or inviolable claims upon both society and government. Such claims can never be justly set aside, since society itself exists to protect them; they can be regulated only to the extent that is necessary to give them effective protection. In other words, the “life, liberty and estate” of one person can be limited only to make effective the equally valid claims of another person to the same right.
According to Locke the state of ...

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...ture. As Locke himself says: the obligations of the law of nature cease not in society. There is thus a double restraint upon the body politic; it has to respect the natural rights to life liberty and property which people enjoyed in the state of nature and to abide by the law of nature itself. In short, unlike the social contract of Hobbes which gives absolute and unlimited powers to the sovereign ruler, the original contract of Locke gives only limited powers to the community; it is not a bond of slavery but charter of freedom. In the hands of Locke the contract theory is made to serve the purpose for which it was originally enunciated; namely, to defend the liberty of the individual against the claim to absolute authority on the part of the ruler. It hardly needs pointing out that Locke uses it to preserve as much of natural freedom to the individual as possible.
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