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Two Treatises of Government

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  14,706 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
This is a new revised version of Dr. Laslett's standard edition of Two Treatises. First published in 1960, and based on an analysis of the whole body of Locke's publications, writings, and papers. The Introduction and text have been revised to incorporate references to recent scholarship since the second edition and the bibliography has been updated.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 28th 1988 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1689)
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Kenghis Khan
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Those of us living in liberal democracies owe tremendous intellectual debt to John Locke. His "Second Treatise" in particular helped lay the foundation for a political system that emphasized "life, liberty, and property." The First Treatise is interesting to skim through, though it is in the second where the Locke is most substantive. His Theory of Private Property, which could also be construed as a theory of value, is an unmistakable revolution in political thought. It is, as Locke contends, w ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Inoffensive, agreeable, well written, but also rather dull and useless.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Robert Owen
As its title states, John Locke’s “Two Treatises on Government” are two separate treatments on the basis of just and legitimate government; the first of which is structured as a rebuttal to the notion, as articulated in Robert Filmer’s “Patriarcha, or The Natural Power of Kings”, of monarchical power authorized by “divine right” whereas the second is a positive articulation of concepts and principles setting the source of authority for any legitimate government within the consent of the governed ...more
Steven Peterson
Dec 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
John Locke's major work of political philosophy is often referred to as a major source for the Declaration of Independence, The Second Treatise of Civil Government. This work, authored in 1690, is a major statement of liberalism. Like Thomas Hobbes, Locke begins with humans living in a state of nature, a situation before the development of the state and government. The Lockeian state of nature was not an unpleasant place. Human reason led people to tend to leave one another alone in their respec ...more
mohab samir
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
هنا وجدت أصول الفلسفة السياسية الحديثة بمختلف إتجاهاتها فمن كتاب لوك هذا يمكنك أن ترى إنبثاق الديموقراطية والشيوعية او الملكية الإنتخابية فى مهدها ومن ناحية أخرى تجد الأرستقراطية والملكية المطلقة فى طور الإحتضار فهكذا كانت الإتجاهات السياسية فى عصر لوك والكتاب فى حد ذاته ثورة على التداخل المريع الذى حدث طوال القرون الوسطى وحتى عصر الإصلاح الدينى بين المفاهيم السياسية والتفسيرات الدينية لها كما يمثل ثورة على كل طغيان ترسخ فى أوروبا منذ قرون وأصبح شيئا مقبولا وإعتيادياً حتى أصبح حجر عثرة فى طريق ا ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This is not the first time I've signed this book's dance card but it is the first time that I've read the first treatise. It is an energetic decimating of the political theory of someone that no one cares about anymore. That's how bad the theory was. And I have to say that I'm not sure it was the best use of Locke's time and effort to debunk it. But perhaps that's just the perspective of time speaking.

I didn't mind the read, though. Locke is sometimes quite funny in his disgust and I was up any
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must read for understanding social contract theory. Although it is not my cup of tea, it does confront a great many current political issues that were also present in the 17th century. I also liked Locke's. emphasis that government is meant to be supportive of the public & their rights, not the rights of the politicians or corporations.
Thomas Mick
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the volumes that helped our founders form the Republic in the Convention of 1787. I highly recommend that anyone who wishes to understand what principle we started out to live under were and therefore better understand what we've become in ignorance of them.
A great work of political philosophy. Less 'revolutionary' than I thought it would be. And less 'liberal' than I thought it would be.
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Had to read this for one of my classes this semester, if you guys wonder...*hides in a corner*
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
yes . . . ive read it, and you should too . . . this dude was thomas jefferson's BFF!!!!
Arno Mosikyan
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, philosophy

that in a Book,15 which was to provide Chains for all Mankind, I should find nothing but a Rope of Sand, useful perhaps to such, whose Skill and Business it is to raise a Dust, and would blind the People, the better to mislead them,

Though the Earth, and all inferior Creatures be common to all Men, yet every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. What-soever then he removes o
Michael G
Listened to a Librivox recording. Featured some very strong readers (all of book one was read with passion and eloquence) aside from about 3 chapters which were nearly unlistenable. It's easy enough to find this text online, so I read through the unlistenable chapters and went on my way.

While the second treatise still raises some interesting questions concerning consent and government, I anticipate the first treatise will be nigh unreadable for modern readers. The first treatise uses scripture
John Lucy
It goes without saying that it is worthwhile to read these treatises for historical and philosophical background for much of Western government, particularly the United States's constitution. For that purpose, the second treatise in particular, which is a companion piece to the first, is useful. The first treatise is mostly only a refutation of an idea that many today would be entirely unfamiliar with, that all naturally ordained government is monarchical because of Adam. Reading the first treat ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eine Herleitung von Grund auf, sowie die unterschiedlichen und interessanten Argumentationsstrukturen machen Lockes Staatsphilosophie zu einem sehr guten und ebenso interessanten Lese-Erlebnis. In mehreren Aspekten wird hier versucht, die absolute Monarchie und deren Legitimationen zu widerlegen und der Blick mehr auf die Rechte des Volkes gelegt.
Außerdem ist gerade in dieser Ausgabe der Kommentar zu einzelnen Stellen des Textes, sowie die Präsentation der einzelnen Kapitel nochmal sehr verständ
Kien Pham
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Many of the concepts here may appear obvious, for Locke himself, in writing this, laid the concrete and complex foundation for which liberal democracies became. It is certainly interesting, albeit controversial now, how he based the creation of a republican government upon family ties and values. Locke’s emphasis on preservation of property and will of the people is admirable indeed, yet can make way for majority rule and populist politics.
Oh let’s not forget the notable absence of separation of
Finch Mckee
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first treatise is a clear and insightful criticism of Monarchy via Divine Right that splits the argument up into its constituent parts, refuting them in turn.

The second treatise is Locke's vision of a society that operates on the fundamental principles of liberty, with all power vested in government existing with the consent of the populace via a social contract.

Overall, a fantastically written couple of essays, and a good introduction to early enlightenment political thought.
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A lot of it is wasted on pointless argumentation about what exactly does the Bible say about the right to rule. There's a lot of Bible quoting and it doesn't get sensible until halfway through. The rest of it is groundbreaking nevertheless quite common sense nowadays. Except the bit about rulers not being allowed to appoint other rulers who were not elected directly by the people and ceding any law making power to them. Sounds like what is annoying people about the EU.
Pierre Franckx
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
One realizes in what privileged society on lives when one reads what Locke had to defend. Although impressed by the texts in general, I'm disappointed by his (blunt and awfull) justification of slavery. These were the times right? I'm glad subsequent generations of liberals dropped this.
M. Ashraf
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the second treatise is the main base of all liberal democracies nowadays , as it focused on two main thing: Liberty and Property. Unlike (The Social Contract) in which Liberty and Freedom were the main focus.

I didn't like the first treatise, as I think there is no one talk like that anymore,these kind of monarchies that existed. It was frustrating talking about divine monarchy and relate every thought to the divine right of Adam ??? it was very strange theory coming from Robert Filmer an
David Beeson
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short but extraordinarily important book, Locke’s Two Treatises of Government are a must-read for anyone keen to understand the roots of what we think of today as our Western democracies.

In fact, it’s even shorter than it looks, if that understanding is our main goal: the whole first part is a demolition of arguments in favour of the divine right of Kings by Sir Robert Filmer, a leading political writer of the generation before Locke’s, now sunk into probably well-deserved oblivion. That makes
John Brenner
Oct 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
i h8 Locke
Henry Bnoxenhein
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
For its significance at least.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Locke criticizes, Sir Robert Filmer, a proponent of divine right of kings, for not defining terms clearly and building an edifice of political theory on a dubious foundation. I find it ironic that he makes the same mistake, and consequently, “there was never so much glib nonsense put together in well-sounding English”.

Objections from Philosophy

Locke's political philosophy is based on some a priori notions of good, namely, life, equality and freedom -- it is not a blank slate. He asserts the natu
Mar 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Potter's School Classical Track Year 3
Published in 1690.
Chapter II: Of the State of Nature
To understand political power we must look at how man behaves in a state of nature where no one tells him what to do or not to do, and where a state of equality prevails.

Natural law says that man can't murder, steal, or infringe on the health or liberty of another (people have the right to life, liberty, health, possessions)
"The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
John Locke is probably better known for developing the idea of individual freedom into one of self-property - in other words, he ascribed to the list of fundamental, natural rights of every human that of property, and therefore extended the role of the government from the defense of the individuals to the defense of those individuals and their property, which he regarded as fundamentally part of those individuals.
The revolutionary character of bourgeois capitalism can often appear a remote, eve
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read the Two Treatises shortly after reading Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan. Locke's first Treatise is entirely a response to Robert Filmer's Patriarcha, in which Locke quotes Filmer extensively, and rebuts Filmer's theory point by point. This is crucially important to the second Treatise, where Locke puts forth a theory of government that borrows significantly from Hobbes. Although Locke scarcely references Hobbes, it is clear that he treats Hobbes's theory as the prevalent one of the time, and it ...more
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classicsclub, owned
Despite my ambitious plan to at least skim the First Treatise, I only read Locke's Second Treatise.

I was surprised at how much I liked this book, especially since I started out pretty disgusted by Locke's viewpoint. The two main things that irritated me:

1) His opinion that the primary goal of government is to preserve property. This just felt really materialistic to me. I felt better about this one when I read the parenthetical aside in chapter XV that read, "By property I must be understood he
Nathan H
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for those who know and understand political philosophy. What I really like about this book is that it exhibits and goes in depth on the benefits of a capitalistic and free society. Also, if you read this book you get to see one of the most famous quotes from the book which is "Every human has the right to life, liberty, and estate" Thomas Jefferson changed this in the United States Declaration of Independence to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". This book also s ...more
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The Well-Educated...: Beginning John Locke 4 7 Jul 18, 2018 11:59PM  
  • The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • On Liberty and Other Essays
  • The Basic Political Writings
  • Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • The Discourses
  • Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding / Concerning the Principles of Morals
  • On the Citizen
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • The Theory of Moral Sentiments
  • Elements of the Philosophy of Right
  • Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality
  • The Libertarian Reader: Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao Tzu to Milton Friedman
  • Rights of Man
  • The Politics and The Constitution of Athens
  • The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume Two: Hegel and Marx
  • Democracy in America
  • Political Liberalism
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

John Locke was an English philosopher. Locke is considered the first of the British Empiricists, but is equally important to social contract theory. His ideas had enormous influence on the development of epistemology and political philosophy, and he is widely regarded as one of the most influential Enlightenmen
More about John Locke
“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.” 3 likes
“I therefore took it into my hands with all the expectation and read it through with all the attention due to a Treaties, that made such a noise at its coming abroad and cannot but confess my self mightily surprised, that in a Book which was to provide Chains for all Mankind, I should find nothing but a Rope of Sand, useful perhaps to such, whose Skill and Business it is to raise a Dust, and would blind the People, the better to mislead them, but in truth is not of any force to draw those into Bondage, who have their Eyes open, and so much Sense about them as to consider, that Chains are but an Ill wearing, how much Care soever hath been taken to file and polish them.” 2 likes
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