Second Treatise of Government (Hackett Classics)
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The Second Treatise is one of the most important political treatises ever written and one of the most far-reaching in its influence.
In his provocative 15-page introduction to this edition, the late eminent political theorist C. B. Macpherson examines Locke's arguments for limited, conditional government, private property, and right of revolution and suggests reasons for the appeal of these arguments in Locke's time and since.
to his Essay Concerning Human Understanding. There, in the course of an argument that there are no innate principles, either logical or moral, he asserts that there are innate inclinations of the appetite which are constant, namely, "a desire of happiness, and an aversion to misery". * These need to be checked by rewards and punishments: Principles of actions indeed there are, lodged in men's appetites, but these are so far from being innate moral principles, that if they were left to their full
society; whereby he puts himself presently under the government he finds there established, as much as any other subject of that common-wealth. And thus the consent of freemen, born under government, which only makes them members of it, being given separately in their turns, as each comes to be of age, and not in a multitude together; people take no notice of it, and thinking it not done at all, or not necessary, conclude they are naturally subjects as they are men. §. 118. But, it is plain,
without this the law could not have that, Of Civil Government which is absolutely necessary to its being a law, * the consent of the society, over whom no body can have a power to make laws, but by their own consent, and by authority received from them; and therefore all the obedience, which by the most solemn ties anyone can be obliged to pay, ultimately terminates in this supreme power, and is directed by those laws which it enacts: nor can any oaths to any foreign power whatsoever, or any
state of nature they had introduced the device of money. This rendered inoperative the spoilage limitation, for one could now convert any amount of perishable goods into money, which did not spoil. The introduction of money also transcended the limitation about leaving enough and as good for others. The argument here was not quite as clear. In the first three editions of the Treatise Locke simply left it that the introduction of money would lead naturally to extensive commerce, which would make
heaven; give them out for whom or what you please, the same will happen. The people generally ill treated, and contrary to right, will be ready upon any occasion to ease themselves of a burden that sits heavy upon them. They will wish, and seek for the opportunity, which in the change, weakness and accidents of human affairs, seldom delays long to offer itself. He must have lived but a little while in the world, who has not seen examples of this in his time; and he must have read very little, who