Second Treatise of Government (Illustrated)

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John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government famously outlines an entire theory of civil society. Locke begins by describing the state of nature, a picture much more stable than Thomas Hobbes’ state of “war of every man against every man,” and argues that all men are created equal in the state of nature by God. From this, he goes on to explain the hypothetical rise of property and civilization, in the process explaining that the only legitimate governments are those that have the consent of the people. Therefore, any government that rules without the consent of the people can, in theory, is overthrown. Locke’s political philosophy is often compared and contrasted with Hobbes’.

The motivation in both cases is self-preservation with Hobbes arguing in Leviathan for the need of an absolute monarch to prevent the war of “all against all” inherent in anarchy while Locke argues that the protection of life, liberty, and property can be achieve by a parliamentary process that protects, not violates, one’s rights.

In his essay, Locke explores a number of notable themes such as conquest and slavery, property, representative government, and the right of revolution.

*Clauses divided into numbered sections for easy reference.

*Includes image gallery.

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