John Locke Essays

John Locke Essays

Length: 1985 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


John Locke believes that man ought to have more freedom in political society than John Stuart Mill does. John Locke's The Second Treatise of Government and John Stuart Mill's On Liberty are influential and potent literary works which while outlining the conceptual framework of each thinkers ideal state present two divergent visions of the very nature of man and his freedom. John Locke and John Stuart Mill have different views regarding how much freedom man ought to have in political society because they have different views regarding man's basic potential for inherently good or evil behavior, as well as the ends or purpose of political societies. In order to examine how each thinker views man and the freedom he ought to have in political society it is necessary to define freedom or liberty from each philosophers perspective. In The Second Treatise of Government, John Locke states his belief that all men exist in "a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and person as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man. " (Locke 4) Locke believes that man exists in a state of nature and thus exists in a state of uncontrollable liberty which has only the law of nature to restrict it, which is reason. (Locke 5) However Locke does state that man does not have the license to destroy himself or any other creature in his possession unless a legitimate purpose requires it. Locke emphasizes the ability and opportunity to own and profit from property as being necessary to be free. In On Liberty John Stuart Mill defines liberty in relation to three spheres; each successive sphere progressively encompasses and defines more elements relating to political society. The first sphere consists of the individuals "inward domain of consciousness; demanding liberty of conscious in the most comprehensive sense; liberty of thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion and sentiment on all subjects, practical or speculative, scientific, moral, or theological." (Mill 13) The second sphere of Mill's definition encompasses the general freedoms which allow an individual to freely peruse a "...life to suit our own character; of doing as we like..." (Mill 13). Mill also states that these freedoms must not be interfered with by "fellow crea...


... middle of paper ...


...ave left an indelible mark on the concept of freedom in political societies. John Locke favours greater freedom for man in political society than does John Stuart Mill does. Their beliefs regarding the nature of man and the purpose of the state are bound to their respective views regarding freedom because one position perpetuates and demands a conclusion regarding another. Locke system for dealing with man freedom and all other related matters severely limits the role of state to strictly guaranteeing individual freedom. This is the best method of preventing the perversion and abuse of the role and power of the state. Locke views simply stem from his faith in man and his potential to succeed independently, which collectively promotes the prosperity of the state. Mill does not implicitly trust or distrust man and therefore does not explicitly limit freedom, in fact he does define freedom in very liberal terms, however he does leave the potential for unlimited intervention into the personal freedoms of the individual by the state. This nullifies any freedoms or rights individuals are said to have because they subject to the whims and fancy of the state. from: ksampson@mustang.uwo.ca

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

John Locke And The Liberal Thinkers Essay

- Throughout history, man has sought after the preservation of his natural rights. The idea of protecting these rights has put many political thinkers into conversation with one another, opening the door to a plethora of ideas and critiques on these important ideas. Liberal contract theorists, such as John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Adam Smith, are seen as committed to the protection of individual rights above all other powers. On the other hand, many critics such as, Karl Marx, Carole Pateman, and Charles Mills, address foundational issues that the liberal theorists omit....   [tags: Political philosophy, Democracy, John Locke]

Powerful Essays
2259 words (6.5 pages)

Essay on John Locke, Rousseau, And Napoleon

- John Locke, Rousseau, and Napoleon all have very different views on what would make a good society. Locke uses a democracy/republican type view that many countries still model after today. Locke’s view on a happy society is the most open and kind to its people, out of the three. Rousseau takes the complete opposite stance from Locke in thinking a more dictatorship government would be what is best for society as a whole as what is good for one person is good for one’s society. Napoleon plays by his own rules with telling people he will follow Lockean like views only to really want to be an absolutist government under his own power....   [tags: Political philosophy, John Locke, Liberty]

Powerful Essays
1289 words (3.7 pages)

Thomas Hobbes And John Locke Essay

- Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are two of the most premier English Political Theorists of the 17th century. With the nature of government at the heart of both Philosophers ' most important accounts, Hobbes and Locke both began their government views with separate ideas of a state of nature, or a pre-political, society. Eventually transitioning into two differing views of an acceptable form of government within a society, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke ended their philosophical "careers" with different views of what a government should look like....   [tags: Political philosophy, John Locke, Social contract]

Powerful Essays
1329 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on John Locke And Thomas Hobbes

- John Locke and Thomas Hobbes could of been of the most significant person for their times. Mr. Locke is well known philosopher in the scientific and political field, while Hobbes was known for his own political work. Mr. Locke scientific background made him famous when he came up with the term “Tabula Rasa”, which means blank slate, an empty surface, where every day experiences help shape who we are. Mr. Locke wrote one of his most important ideas in the book called “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding”....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract, John Locke]

Powerful Essays
728 words (2.1 pages)

Thomas Hobbes And John Locke Essay

- The philosophers, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke had very different ideas as to what type of government would best suit a society leaving the state of nature. The two not only differed in their perceptions of the state of nature, but they stemmed their philosophies from radically dissimilar pictures of human nature. Despite a few partial-similarities, Hobbes’ and Locke’s theories are mainly contrasting. When it comes to human nature, Locke believed that all men are altruistic and inherently good in the state of nature....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract, John Locke]

Powerful Essays
1282 words (3.7 pages)

Thomas Hobbes And John Locke Essay

- The elections have just recently taken place, did you vote. The better question is can you vote. In America to be a citizen you must be born in the county, have parents that were citizens of America prior to your birth or declare naturalization if you come from a foreign country. Before the 1920’s women in the United States could not vote under any condition and before the 1870’s your race, color or previous servitude would affect your decision to vote even if you are a citizen or not. Today, it seen as a duty that every American citizen exercises their right and vote during the time of election....   [tags: Social contract, Political philosophy, John Locke]

Powerful Essays
1590 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on John Locke 's View On Property

- Throughout John Locke’s, Second Treatise of Government, he uses several methods to substantiate his claims on the natural right to property. Locke’s view on property is one of the most fundamental and yet debated aspects of his works within his respective view on politics. Locke views property as one of humankind 's most important rights, contending with the right to life and the right to liberty. However, certain claims made by Locke regarding property are may be unfeasible, which could be deduced from the time period in which he lived....   [tags: Property, John Locke, Liberty, Ownership]

Powerful Essays
1562 words (4.5 pages)

Essay Authority Over Property By John Locke

- Authority over property, by the law of nature, is given to the individual to which it is owned. Therefore, the premise presented by John Locke, in Second Treatise of Government, in which a government cannot legitimately infringe upon individuals’ property without their consent, is correct. A government may not cease private property, as it is inconceivable for any form of government to be granted such an authority. Locke’s thesis, ‘a government cannot legitimately infringe upon individuals’ property without their consent,’ entails the state of nature....   [tags: Political philosophy, John Locke, Property]

Powerful Essays
1046 words (3 pages)

John Locke 's Natural Rights Essay

- Mid-term According to John Locke everyone has natural rights. John Locke came up with natural rights, by thinking about what they could be for a long and vigorous time. Locke said that natural rights are “life, health, liberty, and possessions” (9). Life is something that no one can take away from anyone. Locke said, “no ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possession” (9). Life is not an absolute right. An example of this is if there was a train full of ten thousand people about to hit a rock, and you are by the switch that could save the ten thousand people, but if you use the switch you are killing a twelve-year-old girl on the other track....   [tags: Property, John Locke, Social class, Liberty]

Powerful Essays
1343 words (3.8 pages)

Career Biography of John Locke Essay examples

- English philosopher, who founded the school of empiricism. Locke was born in the village of Wrington, Somerset, on August 29, 1632. He was educated at the University of Oxford and lectured on Greek, rhetoric, and moral philosophy at Oxford from 1661 to 1664. In 1667 Locke began his association with the English statesman Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st earl of Shaftesbury, to whom Locke was friend, adviser, and physician. Shaftesbury secured for Locke a series of minor government appointments. In 1669, in one of his official capacities, In 1675, after the liberal Shaftesbury lost is power, Locke went to France....   [tags: John Locke Philosophers Ethics Religion Essays]

Powerful Essays
602 words (1.7 pages)