John Locke : Second Treaties of Government

Topics: Separation of powers, Political philosophy, United States Declaration of Independence Pages: 7 (2949 words) Published: June 5, 2009
John Locke was born on August 29, 1632 in England to a middle class family. He was named after his father, an educated attorney who had participated in the Civil War with the Long Parliamentary. Locke shared a great deal of affection and respect for his father. The relationship he built with his father influenced him to create his own views on education and government. His theory on education was published in 1693 titled, "Some Thoughts Concerning Education." Locke was accepted to Christ Church College, Oxford due to father's friendship with a member of the Long Parliament. The Long Parliment was known to challenge the monarchy in England at the time and later started the English Civil War. Locke attended Oxford for many years studying the curriculum in England and graduated with a Masters in 1658, pursuing his interests in arts. Later he became increasingly interested in the study of sciences including the study of medicine, which were on the rise in England Universities at the time. His interests in science continued to expand and he continued to apply himself to the study of medicine. While studying medicine Locke became interested in the philosophical questions of his time, including the rights of man. The rights of man deal with the powers of government to wit, government by the king through a monarchy and the power of the people through a social contract. Since 1660 Locke began to explore his interest in the natural law. Within the next couple of years he composed "Essays on the Law of Nature" written in Latin. Unfortunately for Locke his Essays were never published, these theories of law were based on two of his philosophies. First, "in order that anyone may understand that he is bound by a law, he must know before hand that there is a law." Secondly, "there is some will on the part of that superior power, the law maker, who wishes that we do this and demands of us that the conduct of our life should be in accordance with his will."

Locke's interest in science and medicine brought him into contact with a distinguished scientist named Robert Boyle. In 1667, Locke took a position at Lord Ashley's household in London as a family physician, in addition to confidential advisor and secretary. In 1668, Locke assisted Lord Ashley in drafting a constitution for the colony of Carolina. In 1671, Locke began to write his greatest work, the "Essay Concerning Human Understanding." This took nearly twenty years to complete. Since then he was deeply engaged in Shaftesbury's political affairs as Secretary of Council a position he obtained while being a secretary for Shaftesbury. In 1675, Locke became ill and lost his position working for Shaftesbury. Due to unstable government conditions Shaftesbury fell from power and Locke was forced to leave England, choosing to recuperate in France. He spent nearly four years in Paris and Montpellier studying at medical school. During his exile in France Locke also took the time to develop his thoughts on Natural Law by composing, Two Treaties of Government. His writings deal with the development of a social contract, which is an agreement between the government and the governed. Locke later returned to England in 1679, he once again committed himself to offer services for Lord Ashley immediately upon his return to England. Four years later it was necessary for Lord Ashley to flee from England to Holland because he had supported the wrong leader during the Monmouth rebellion in 1685. Shortly after Ashley fled from England, Locke followed him and remained in Holland until the Revolution of 1688. Upon returning to England, Locke began to rapidly issue a number of his works he concluded while in Holland, the result of years of study and meditation. Among his works were the, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Two Treatises of Government, and Letters on Toleration. His positive outlook on the importance of a mutual relationship between government and human nature, exerted an immediate...
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