John Locke's Two Treaties of Government

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NATURAL LAW/STATE OF NATURE: · 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: Ø An established, settled, known law Ø A known and indifferent judge Ø Power to back and support the sentence when right FORMING A SOCIETY: · 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. 2 · 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 dissolves. · All members of a society must go along with majority rule, as that is part of being a member of society. LAWS/GOVERNMENT/FREEDOM: · "The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom." · Without law, there can be no real freedom, since true "liberty is to be free from the restraint and violence of others." · The freedom of humans is based on an ability to reason. One set out into a world of unrestrained liberty, without faculties of reason, is not gaining freedom, but entering a "wretched state". · A contract exists between ruler and those ruled, and, if broken, may be terminated.

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