Western civilization.The political theory of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau - Essay Example

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This is a study about the political theory of John Locke and the political theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau. In addition, the study will highlight and discuss how the thinking of Locke and Rousseau fit into the period of Enlightenment…
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Western civilization.The political theory of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau
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Download file to see previous pages This is a study about the political theory of John Locke and the political theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau. In addition, the study will highlight and discuss how the thinking of Locke and Rousseau fit into the period of Enlightenment. The study will start with a discussion of the political theory of Locke, followed by a discussion of Rousseau’s political theory, and then end with how their thinking fits into the period of enlightenment. The political theory of John Locke John Locke can be regarded as one of the founding fathers of liberal philosophy, which lays emphasis on limited government and individual rights. In his arguments about the state of nature, Locke noted that nature is characterized by scarcity of things to eat or wear. Therefore, human beings must work extremely hard to get food to eat and other necessities. Two things happen as a result of this hard work; first, a person survives. Secondly, a person creates property by mixing labor with the natural resources to create food, shelter, and cloth (Bode 4). Locke argued that problems might arise with property since it can be detached from the individual. In the state of nature, many people may be willing to solve the problem of scarcity by snatching a person’s property. Through this struggle, the idea of government comes into being. Locke hypothesized that men entered the society with the ultimate aim of preserving their property. People sacrifice their freedom in the state of nature and join others in a protective government...
God does not choose kings; people invent kings to protect property. On the limitations of government, people have the authority to replace leaders if they fail to perform their duties as expected (Bode 6). The political theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau Jean Rousseau can be regarded as a significant figure in the development of philosophical thought in the eighteenth century. He was one of the scholars who developed the political theory, which would later influence the age of revolutions, especially the French and American Revolutions. On the nature and society, Rousseau noted that man’s natural state could be more preferred than the civil or social state. In his Discourse on equality, Rousseau argues that man tends to appear as the solitary salvage and lives a carefree life (Qvortrup 76). In his classical work on political theory, The Social Contract (1762), Jean notes that ‘Man was born free, but is everywhere in chains’. This expressed his belief that the society has corrupted man. He argues that people recognize a general will, which is collective (Qvortrup 78). This general will should represent the common good or the interest of the public. All citizens should take part and show commitment to the general good. This should happen even if it means that people should act against their personal or private interests. For example, people may support a political party that proposes to impose heavy taxes if they have high income. This would not hurt as the taxation will bring considerable benefits to all persons. To Rousseau, therefore, a loyal citizen should not put their private interests first. He argued that when people do not put their personal interests first, equality and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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