Second Treatise of Civil Government Summary

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1, Second Treatise, Of Civil Government

Written by John Locke, the Second Treatise of civil government discusses 4 main topics; The State Of Nature, Political Society and Government, Legislative Power, and the Dissolution of Government. When John Locke talks about the state of nature, he talks about how all men are created equally and are in a “perfect state of freedom.” He says that they are in the state of freedom “withing the bounds of the laws of nature.” Locke means that men control their own actions, and that there is punishment for people who over-step their rights. John Locke talks about the Political Society and Government. He discusses how men are entitled to their own property. Lock talks about justice and how there is punishment for people who harm other peoples’ property. Locke talks about the power “of doing whatsoever he thought fit for the preservation of himself and the rest of mankind,” and the “power of punishing the crimes committed against that law.” Locke states that legislative power is the law of the land, and it is the most “fundamental natural law.” He talks about how legislative power is the power of the commonwealth. He makes 4 points about the trust put in the hands of society on legislative power. First, “They are govern by promulgated established laws.” Second, that the laws are ultimately for the good of the people. Third, that taxes can’t be raised of the people’s property, and forth, that the power can’t “transfer the power of making laws to anyone else.” The final topic discussed is the Dissolution of Government. This topic talks about how men can’t make laws that bind other people to it. It also says that men cannot use force without having a right to do so, and a good reason to do it.