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Two Treatises of Civil Government

Two Treatises of Civil Government by John Locke
By: (1632-1704)

John Locke's Two Treatises of Civil Government is a thought-provoking and influential work that delves into the foundations of government and the rights of individuals. In the first treatise, Locke argues against the concept of the divine right of kings and asserts that political power is derived from the consent of the governed. He also outlines the natural rights of individuals, including life, liberty, and property, and argues that governments exist to protect these rights.

In the second treatise, Locke focuses on the role of government and its limitations. He introduces the concept of a social contract, in which individuals agree to give up some of their rights in exchange for the protection of their remaining rights. Locke also discusses the right of revolution, arguing that individuals have the right to overthrow a government that fails to uphold its end of the social contract.

Overall, Two Treatises of Civil Government is a foundational work in political philosophy that continues to shape our understanding of government and individual rights. Locke's arguments are insightful and well-reasoned, making this book a must-read for anyone interested in political theory and the nature of government.

Book Description:

The Two Treatises of Civil Government is a work of political philosophy published anonymously in 1689 by John Locke. The First Treatise is an extended attack on Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha, which argued for a divinely-ordained, hereditary, absolute monarchy. The more influential Second Treatise outlines a theory of civil society based on natural rights and contract theory. Locke begins by describing the “state of nature,” and goes on to explain the hypothetical rise of property and civilization, asserting that the only legitimate governments are those which have the consent of the people.

Locke’s ideas heavily influenced both the American and French Revolutions. His notions of people’s rights and the role of civil government provided strong support for the intellectual movements of both revolutions.

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