In the second treatise, Of Civil Government, Locke discusses a move in society from a state of nature to one of civil government. State of nature is defined as a condition where freedom is absolute, and reason rules. Civil government is comprised of a legislative and executive power. The people in a state of nature are free to do as they please, hold equal natural rights, and are in pursue of the preservation of mankind.
Although the state of nature allows freedom, there are those who could intrude with other’s conservation of property. Property is the term Locke uses for what he groups as people’s “lives, liberties, and estates.” (75) When an individual violates the law of nature, others will use force against him, in attempt to maintain order, thus penalizing and discouraging future infringes.
When setting up a civil government, the ambition to protect one’s property is foremost; this includes a man’s liberty, way of life, and possessions. In the state of nature, a man is the rightful owner of his own self, thus the labor he puts into land is then directly associated to him, becoming his property. The cultivated land will then produce a harvest, thus generating a growth in people. This growth in population requires an establishment of a monetary system, and inevitably a gover...
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...e or executive powers take part in corrupt activity favoring themselves, society is then freed from any further obedience. Since the government broke the “rule of society,” they then relinquish back the power given to them by the people. (79)
The people in civil society are the ones appointed to judge, if the leaders are overthrown as a result of misuse in power. The people were the first to place their trust in their leadership, so they can rightfully take that back and judge themselves as they see fit. When an individual gives their rights to society, they can never take them back; same concept applies to the government, when they are given the power to rule, they then cannot revert it back to the people. Either group can eradicate the other, thus the people are free to “erect a new form, or under the old form place it in new hands, as they think good.” (82)
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