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Second Treatise of Government Second Treatise of Government by John Locke
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“Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“Men being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“In transgressing the law of nature, the offender declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common equity" Ch.2, 8”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“As usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to. And this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private separate advantage. When the governor, however intitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule; and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“This makes it Lawful for a Man to Kill a Thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther then by the use of Force, so to get him in his Power, as to take away his Money, or what he pleases from him.: because using force, where he has no Right, to get me into his Power, let his pretense be what it will, I have no reason to purpose that he, who would take away my Liberty, would not when he had me in his Power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is Lawful for me to treat him, as one who has put himself into a State of War with me, I.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a State of War, and is Aggressor in it.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“...but since He gave it them for their benefit and the greatest conveniences of life they were capable to draw form it, it cannot be supposed He meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the industrious and rational (and labour was to be his title to it)...”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“The power of the legislative, being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“Slavery is so vile and miserable an Estate of Man, and so directly opposite to the generous Temper and Courage of our Nation; that 'tis hardly to be conceived, that an Englishman, much less a Gentleman, should plead for't.. And truly, I should have taken Sr. Rt: Filmer's "Patriarcha" as any other Treatise, which would perswade all Men, that they are Slaves, and ought to be so, for such another exercise of Wit, as was his who writ the Encomium (Praise) of Nero, rather than for a serious Discourse meant in earnest, had not the Gravity of the Title and Epistle, the Picture in the Front of the Book, and the Applause that followed it, required me to believe, that the Author and Publisher were both in earnest. 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.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“Wherever, therefore, any number of men so unite into one society, as to quit everyone his executive power of the law of Nature, and to resign it to the public, there, and there only, is a political or civil society. [....] Hence it is evident that absolute monarchy, which by some men [e.g., Hobbes] is counted the only government in the world, is indeed inconsistent with civil society, and so can be no form of civil government at all.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“Sec. 10. Besides the crime which consists in violating the law, and varying from the right rule of reason, whereby a man so far becomes degenerate, and declares himself to quit the principles of human nature, and to be a noxious creature, there is commonly injury done to some person or other, and some other man receives damage by his transgression: in which case he who hath received any damage, has, besides the right of punishment common to him with other men, a particular right to seek reparation from him that has done it: and any other person, who finds it just, may also join with him that is injured, and assist him in recovering from the offender so much as may make satisfaction for the harm he has suffered.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“A liberty to follow my own will in all things where that rule prescribes not, not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man, as freedom of nature is to be under no other restraint but the law of Nature.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“Sect. 4. TO understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“God hath woven into the principles of human nature such a tenderness for their off-spring, that there is little fear that parents should use their power with too much rigour;”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“God gave the World to Men in Common; But since he gave it them for their benefit, and the greatest Conveniencies of life they were capable to draw from it, it cannot be supposed he meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the industrious and Rational, (and Labour was to be his Title to it;) not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“To avoid this state of war (wherein there is no appeal but to heaven, and wherein every the least difference is apt to end, where there is no authority to decide between the contenders) is one great reason of men's putting themselves into society, and quitting the state of nature: for where there is an authority, a power on earth, from which relief can be had by appeal, there the continuance of the state of war is excluded, and the controversy is decided by that power.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“For though the law of nature be plain and intelligible to all rational creatures; yet men, being biased by their interest, as well as ignorant for want of study of it, are not apt to allow of it as a law binding to them in the application of it to their particular cases.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands: for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“Examples out of History, of People free and in the State of Nature, that being met together incorporated and began a Common-wealth. And if the want of such instances be an argument to prove that Government were not, nor could not be so begun, I suppose the contenders for Parernal Empire were better let it alone, than urge it against natural Liberty. For if they can give so many instances out of History, of Governments begun upon Paternal Right, I think (though at best an Argument from what has been, to what should of right be, has no great force) one might, without any great danger, yield them the cause. But if I might advise the Original of Governments, as they have begun de facto, lest they should find at the foundation of most of them, something very little favourable to the design they promote, and such a power as they contend for.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
“No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil society; unless any one will say, the state of nature and civil society are one and the same thing, which I have never yet found any one so great a patron of anarchy as to affirm.”
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government