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Author Topic: John Locke, et al on Government ....  (Read 1794 times)


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John Locke, et al on Government ....
« on: October 12, 2003, 06:33:32 pm »

The following is a quotation from the book, The Spark of Independence published by the History Book Club, New York of John Locke's 2nd Treatise of Government, "To understand political power aright, and derive it from its origina, we must consider what state all men are naturally in, and that is a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.  
Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom, and an uncontrolled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of nature equally with any other man or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power not only to preserve his property - that is, his life, liberty, and estate - against the injuries and attempts of other men, but to judge of and punish the breaches o that law in others s he is persuaded the offence deserves, even with death itself, in crimes where the heinousness of the fact in his opinion requires it.  But because no political society can be nor subsist without having in itself the power to preserve the property, and, in order thereunto, punish the offences of all those of that society; there, and there only, is political society, where every one of the members hath quitted this natural power, resigned it up into the hands of the community in all cases that exclude him not from appealng for protection to the law established by it.  And thus all private judgements of every particular memberbeing excluded, the community come to be umpire, by settled, standing rules, indifferent, and the same to all parties; and by men having authority from the community fro the execution of those rules, decides all the differences that my happen between any members of that society concerning any matter of right, and punishes those offences which any member hath committed against the society, with such penalties as the law has established; whereby it is easy to discern who are and who are not in political society together.  Those who are united into one body, and have a common established law and juriscature to appeal to, with authority to decide controversies between them and punish offenders, are in civil society one with another; but those who have no such common appeal - I mean on earth - are still in the state of nature, each being, where there is no other, judge for himself and executioner, which is, as I have before shewn it, the perfect state of nature.
Men being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put of this estate, and subjeced to the political power of another, without his on consent.  The only way wereby any one divests himself of his natural liberty and puts on the bonds of civil society is by agreeing with oher men to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any that are not of it.  This any number of men may do, because it injures not the freedom of the rest; they are left as they were in the liberty of the state of nature.  When any number of men have so consented to make one community or government, they are thereby presently incorporated, and make one body politic, wherein the majorit have a right to act and conclude the rest."

to be continued
« Last Edit: October 12, 2003, 07:30:11 pm by suijurisfreeman »

Roy J. Tellason

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John Locke, et al on Government ....
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2004, 08:30:45 pm »

Funny that Locke should come up in here...

Sitting on my desk is a stack of tapes (there's a tape player helping to hold up this monitor :-),  and on the top of the stack is "Two Treatises of Government", by John Locke.  That's one of a 2-tape set and tape 2 has gone missing,  during a move.  Gotta listen to 'em when I find that other one,  one of these days.

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