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Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Two of Locke's most mature and influential political writings and three brilliant interpretive essays have been combined here in one volume. Among the most influential writings in the history of Western political thought, John Locke's Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration remain vital to political debates more than three centuries after they were w ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 10th 2003 by Yale University Press (first published 1689)
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Scriptor Ignotus
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, politics
As I was finishing Locke and beginning to put this review together, a news story came to my attention which, in a circuitous manner, reminded me of why I felt the need to do some (re)reading about liberalism this year.


An American woman was going through security at Frankfurt International Airport when she was taken aside and told that her carry-on bag contained too many liquids, and that she would have to either dispose of a stick of deodorant in her bag or put it in her c
James Knowles
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in liberty, and those that ought to (yes, you Americans)
I was already familiar with Locke before reading this, but I'm blown away at his clarity and insight. Most Americans think they know Locke, but really don't. We're vaguely familiar with the ideas, but can't articulate them, and frequently scorn them.

The First Treatise is kind of tedious, aimed at knocking down the then-recent concept of the divine right of kings. He tackles it from every single angle possible.

The Second Treatise is astoundingly clear, refreshing, and compelling. Many ideas are
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I figured that at some point or another it would be a responsible thing to read through some of the foundational documents and ideas that founded America - which is why I picked this up and dove into it. It's fascinating to read from this vantage point in history, where our nation and its constitution have been around for so long. Many of the ideas in the book seem self-evident, or commonsensical, and so it was a fascinating exercise to try and put ones mind into the arena of the day it was writ ...more
I have a new Brow-Bruising Read. John Locke's Two Treatises of Government and a Letter Concerning Toleration is one of the most influential works of political philosophy ever published. It's also quite a slog to get through.

Without a doubt the most brutal part of Two Treatises is the first treatise in which Locke provides an exhaustive refutation to Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha. The biggest issue I had with the treatise is not necessarily how it is written, although I did find it redundant an
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Separation of powers, separation of church and State and taxation without the consent of the governed. Sound familiar? It doesn’t take long to see that Locke’s Second Treatise on Government is the philosophical grandfather to the American Revolution. One hundred years after it was written, many of Locke’s principles were etched out by Thomas Jefferson’s quill. For Locke, civil government was a tool to maximize individual freedom while providing protection and a forum to resolve disputes.

The Firs
Koen Crolla
Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pol-and-soc
Say what you will about the theology of Richard Dawkins and other Gnu Atheists, but there is no sense in which the theology of actual religious people is more sophisticated.
In the first of his Two Treatises, Locke argues against Robert Filmer's justifications of monarchy through divine right, largely on biblical grounds, and like Filmer himself, he uses literalist readings when convenient (and from whichever version and language is most so), and argues from (what he imagines to be) the spirit of
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most important works ever written. In the Second Treatise, Locke lays down the theory of natural law and how it relates to the individual as well as to government. Although he was not the first or the only writer tp elaborate such a theory, his interpretation is clear and eloquent, as can be seen in its use in the Declaration of Independence. The First Treatise was basically a refutation of the now obscure authoritarian work "Patriarcha" by Sir Robert Filmer. Although it is an ...more
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, philosophy
The first treatise is almost entirely irrelevant - as a refutation of absolute monarchy you would think it would at least be interesting, but it's clear that Locke is not dealing with anyone who actually formulated the argument for absolute monarchy cogently.

The second treatise is, of course, the point. And while I think Locke laid out his political principles pretty well, I was actually kind of struck by how unmoved I was. I generally agree with his political philosophy and think his right of r
Don Mashak

I can think of nothing more empowering than to learn Natural Law by Reading Locke's Two Treatises of Civil Government

Confused about how you fit in the world? This will improve your Perspective of Reality. Natural Law:How WE THE PEOPLE got to July 4, 1776 http://donmashaksmn10judicialdistrict...

Reading Locke's 2 Treatises of government & learning Natural Law should be as inspirational as this song by Katy Perry - Firework

I read the Second Treatise on Government as part of my Great Works Project. I'm not going to lie: this was tough. I had a hard time maintaining interest, despite the fact that this book is pretty essential reading for any American who wants to understand more about the the Founding Fathers and the ideas that frame our government. What can I say... I've become what the Founders would have despised- I take my freedoms too much for granted.
Jun 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely influential work referenced by the Founding Fathers. You can see why they call The Declaration of Independence a Lockeian document. Locke argues against the right of kings and claims that all men have equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of property. He also adds that the right to govern comes from the people who turn this God-given right over to the people they choose to govern in their behalf.
So Prof. Shapiro edited and contributed to this book (he also teaches Moral Foundation of Politics, which I read this book for). Can I say (and I know I am risking being called a dork) that I love Locke? I think he's brilliant and when I read this, it really grabbed me as a logical and moral way of thinking of human nature and the responsibilities of government.
Essential to understanding the underpinnings of political thought and toleration.
Apr 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, politics
hey! he wrote my constitution...kinda. well read the us constitution with this in the other hand. you ll see what i mean.
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too many commas, but I agree with a lot of what Locke has to say.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second Treaties sould be mandatory reading!!
Skimmed the Second Treatise.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading it. Quite hard.
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent version of Locke's writings! This is a must-read for anyone who may want to discover the origin of natural rights philosophy and individualism in the political realm.
Alberto Mendoza
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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
“The great question which in all ages has disturbed mankind, and brought on them the greatest part of those mischiefs which have ruined cities, depopulated countries, and disordered the peace of the world, has been, not whether there be power in the world, nor whence it came, but who should have it.” 1 likes
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