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He Second Treatise of Government - Essay Example

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Name History and Political Science   10 April 2013 The Second Treatise of Government The Theory John Locke is historically addressed as one of the greatest English philosophers of all times and a founding political thinker who contributed greatly to the modern political systems in Europe…
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He Second Treatise of Government
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Download file to see previous pages According to Jones (21), Locke made emphasis on individuals ‘natural rights (through the law of nature that claimed all men being equal and deserving to enjoy equal rights), on their constitutional governments by consent. In his theory, rather than the supreme authority, the people hold the power to set up a particular government and even replace it in case it fails. Because of the law of nature that gives humans liberty to act through the individual rights, and the contract nature of the civil society, the people can then give some of their rights to the government, as a form of trust that it would secure and defend the rights of the general people. The true sovereignty hence extends from the people as the authority is delegated more to the legislature that makes and defines the laws of the state, than the executive branch of government that executes the law (Jones 21). As a result, the theory argues that the governments should exist by the consent of the people, because with their rights they set up the civil society, and in their majority, their supreme authority and power is represented through the elected representatives in parliament. This means that the only legitimate civil society or political society that assumes power should be formed by the consent of the people, and not by force to protect and promote the public will. How John Locke Defended the Theory The law of nature: Locke used a biblical concept to defend his idea of natural law, while countering the earlier concepts as put forward by other philosophers. He portrayed the concept of liberty as a God given right to every individual so that they act in respect to the law of nature. Concepts of natural law existed before, but viewed humans from another negative point. However, Locke associates the natural law to be the will of God, who seemed to have been so far the first lawmaker for humanity to follow, that defines right and wrong and attaches sanctions to violations of the natural law; hence humans had an obligation to live according to it, because it is reasonable and willed by God (Kim Ian 127). As such humans are viewed as capable individuals with a rationale to know the will of God (law of nature), whose wisdom and knowledge gives them liberty and enforces preservation of humanity. Despite mankind being prone to anarchy as Hobbessian philosophy indicates, the rationality humans have gives them the capability to develop the civil society and institute a government that articulates and enforces the law of nature (McFerran 24). Locke pointed out that natural law works for all humans and society preservation; hence the interest of the individuals should not conflict with those of the organisation or individuals in a society. As such, harming one another was a violation of the natural law to the property of God (humans’ lives, possessions and liberty) and deserving of punishment for the offence. Humans are obliged to enforce the natural law and can hence use their established civil societies as a natural faculty to fulfil the will of God, and preserve the community. They are free and potentially moral to constitute a government with limited power, and because of the knowledge of the natural law, they can put the government to checks if it conforms and serves right to implement the law of nature. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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