Locke’s Argument in the Second Treatise for a “Right of Revolution”

Topics: Political philosophy, John Locke, Law Pages: 3 (973 words) Published: April 2, 2011

In Locke’s influential book “The Second Treatise of Government”, the emphasis is on the placement of sovereignty into the hands of the people. The fundamental argument that Locke makes, is that people are equal and invested with natural rights in a state of nature in which they live free from the rules on the outside. Locke purposes that in the state of nature, behaviour is governed by natural laws, and that each individual has a license to execute those laws against someone who wrongs them by transgressing on their rights. With this, Locke declared that under natural law, all people of the society have the right to life, liberty and estate. Also, when they are under this social contract, the people can provoke a revolution against the government if there appeals more interest to the citizens to replace the government with one that served with more in favour of the citizens. Hence, Locked deemed revolution as an obligation, and thus the right of revolution substantially acts as a safeguard against tyranny.

Locke begins by defining “war is a state of enmity and destruction” (7) brought about by one’s intentional attempt upon another’s life. Integral to the law of nature, the law of self-preservation dictates that a person may kill another person only in self-defence. The definition is a foundation upon the presumption that any aggressive behaviour by one person against another constitutes a challenge to the opposing person’s freedom. Hence, with this reason, one can be permitted to kill a thief and be justified because the attack is on one’s property representing a threat to one’s liberty. With this, I agree with Locke’s law of self-preservation because each individual is obliged to right to stay alive for as long as one can physically, in the state. Locke also notes that one of the major reasons people enter into society is to avoid the state of war, for that the presence of a legislative...
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