The political theories set forth are the foundation for later political philosophers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose Du contrat social:
Locke's fundamental argument is that people are equal and invested with natural rights in a state of nature in which they live free from outside rule.
In the state of nature, natural law governs behavior, and each person has license to execute that law against someone who wrongs them by infringing on their rights. People take what they need from the earth, but hoard just enough to cover their needs.
Eventually, people begin to trade their excess goods with each other, until they develop a common currency for barter, or money.
Money eliminates limits on the amount of property they can obtain unlike food, money does not spoiland they begin to gather estates around themselves and their families. People then exchange some of their natural rights to enter into society with other people, and be protected by common laws and a common executive power to enforce the laws.
People need executive power to protect their property and defend their liberty. The civil state is beholden to the people, and has power over the people only insofar as it exists to protect and preserve their welfare.
Locke describes a state with a separate judicial, legislative, and executive branch--the legislative branch being the most important of the three, since it determines the laws that govern civil society. People have the right to dissolve their government, if that government ceases to work solely in their best interest.
The government has no sovereignty of its own--it exists to serve the people. To sum up, Locke's model consists of a civil state, built upon the natural rights common to a people who need and welcome an executive power to protect their property and liberties; the government exists for the people's benefit and can be replaced or overthrown if it ceases to function toward that primary end.John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government established the author as the intellectual father of the modern constitutional state.
The political theories set forth are the foundation for later. Second Treatise of Government study guide contains a biography of John Locke, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Second Treatise Of Government by John Locke, C. B. Macpherson. When John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government was published near the end of the seventeenth century, England was in a state of political unrest.
Second Treatise of Government study guide contains a biography of John Locke, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. About Second Treatise of Government.
The Second Treatise of Civil Government John Locke John Locke's ideas about government and human nature became the starting point for modern political theory and, ultimately, the American Revolution.