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John Locke (1632-1704) is a predominant figure in the history of political theory and philosophy. His most extensive work, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), formalized empiricism, a branch of inquiry which focuses on the experience of the sense to gather knowledge, rather than speculation or intellectual deduction. Locke's concept of the tabula rasa the notion that people are born blank, with no knowledge or faults, remains a hugely influential philosophical concept. Much Enlightenment philosophy is based on Locke's writings, particularly his adherence to rationality and his refutation of the importance of innate personal traits in favor of experience in shaping personality.

John Locke (1632-1704) is a predominant figure in the history of political theory and philosophy. His

John Locke published his Two Treatises of

Government anonymously in 1690. Two years earlier, in 1688, the very unpopular King James II had been ousted in favor of King William the III and his wife Queen Mary in theGlorious Revolution, with the help of a group of wealthy noblemen known as the Whigs. Locke, though not living in England at the time of the Glorious Revolution (which had some claim to its name, having been almost entirely bloodless and peaceful) had strong associations with the Whigs, and sought to justify the ascension of King William (in fact, theSecond Treatise was written to justify resistance to king Charles II, but was published as a defense of William's Revolution). The Treatises were written with this specific aim--to defend the Glorious Revolution. Locke also sought to refute the pro-Absolutist theories of Sir Robert Filmer, which he and his Whig associates felt were getting far too popular. Although not as immediate a challenge, Locke's work also serves as a major counter-argument to Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, in which Hobbes argues in favor of absolutist government to keep people from abusing property and privacy. Many persistent rifts in political theory today stem from the fundamental disagreements between Locke's Second Treatise and Hobbes' Leviathan. The Second Treatise of Government, subtitled An Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government, stands today as an extremely influential work that shaped political philosophy and provided a basis for later political doctrines, such as those set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. The Second Treatise of Government places sovereignty into the hands of the people. Locke's fundamental argument is that people are equal and invested with natural rights in a state of nature in which they live free from outside rule. In the state of nature, natural law governs behavior, and each person has license to execute that law against someone who wrongs them by infringing on their rights. People take what they need from the earth, but hoard just enough to cover their needs. Eventually, people begin to trade their excess goods with each other, until they develop a common currency for barter, or money. Money eliminates limits on the amount of property they can obtain (unlike food, money does not spoil), and they begin to gather estates around themselves and their families. People then exchange some of their natural rights to enter into society with other people, and be protected by common laws and a common executive power to enforce the laws. People need executive power to protect their property and defend their liberty. The civil state is beholden to the people, and has power over the people only insofar as it exists to protect and preserve their welfare. Locke describes a state with a separate judicial, legislative, and executive branch--the legislative branch being the most important of the three, since it determines the laws that govern civil society. People have the right to dissolve their government, if that government ceases to work solely in their best interest. The government has no sovereignty of its own--it exists to serve the people.

To sum up, Locke's model consists of a civil state, built upon the natural rights common to a people who need and welcome an executive power to protect their property and liberties; the government exists for the people's benefit and can be replaced or overthrown if it ceases to function toward that primary end. The Second Treatise of Government remains a cornerstone of Western political philosophy. Locke's theory of government based on the sovereignty of the people has been extraordinarily influential since its publication in 1690--the concept of the modern liberal-democratic state is rooted in Locke's writings. Locke's Second Treatise starts with a liberal premise of a community of free, equal individuals, all possessed of natural rights. Since these individuals will want to acquire goods and will come into inevitable conflict, Locke invokes a natural law of morality to govern them before they enter into society. Locke presumes people will understand that, in order to best protect themselves and their property, they must come together into some sort of body politic and agree to adhere to certain standards of behavior. Thus, they relinquish some of their natural rights to enter into a social compact. In this civil society, the people submit natural freedoms to the common laws of the society; in return, they receive the protection of the government. By coming together, the people create an executive power to enforce the laws and punish offenders. The people entrust these laws and the executive power with authority. When, either through an abuse of power or an impermissible change, these governing bodies cease to represent the people and instead represent either themselves or some foreign power, the people may--and

indeed should--rebel against their government and replace it with one that will remember its trust. This is perhaps the most pressing concern of Locke's Second Treatise, given his motivation in writing the work (justifying opposition to Charles II) and publishing it (justifying the revolution of King William)--to explain the conditions in which a people has the right to replace one government with another. Locke links his abstract ideals to a deductive theory of unlimited personal property wholly protected from governmental invention; in fact, in some cases Locke places the sanctity of property over the sanctity of life (since one can relinquish one's life by engaging in war, but cannot relinquish one's property, to which others might have ownership rights). This joining of ideas--consensual, limited government based upon natural human rights and dignity, and unlimited personal property, based on those same rights, makes the Second Treatise a perfectly-constructed argument against absolutism and unjust governments. It appeals both to abstract moral notions and to a more grounded view of the self-interest that leads people to form societies and governments. Preface, Chapters 1-2: Of the State of Nature

In the brief preface to the Second Treatise, Locke expresses the hope that his text will justify the rule of King William, and speaks against the intellectual and moral failings of Sir Robert Filmer's writings (please see commentary). In Chapter 1, Locke first reiterates his arguments from the First Treatiseagainst Sir Robert Filmer's writings. His points refute Filmer as follows:

Adam was NOT given absolute authority over the world and his children by God Adam's heirs, therefore, did not have this authority No one can claim rights since it is impossible to identify Adam's heirs today. Locke aimed to refute Filmer's theory of the divine right of sovereignty. Locke finishes the chapter by noting that one must not confuse different types of power--paternal, familial, and political--for each has very different characteristics. He defines political power as the right to make laws for the protection and regulation of property; these laws are backed by the community, for the public good. Locke addresses the natural instincts of people, or the state of nature, in order to define political power. In Chapter 2, Locke explains the state of nature as a state of equality in which no one has power over another, and all are free to do as they please. He notes, however, that this liberty does not equal license to abuse others, and that natural law exists even in the state of nature. Each individual in the state of nature has the power to execute natural laws, which are universal. Locke then posits that proof of this natural law lies in the fact that, even though a person cannot reasonably be under the power of a foreign king, if a person commits a crime in a foreign country they can still be punished. Locke states that natural law simply demands that punishment fit the crime--a person in the state of nature can redress any crime to discourage the offender from repeating it. Locke concludes by noting that all people are in a state of nature until a special compact or agreement between them (which he promises to describe later) makes them members of a political society.

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Chapters 3-4: Of the State of War and Of Slavery Summary

Locke starts off by defining war as a state of "enmity and destruction" brought about by one person's pre-meditated attempts upon another's life. The law of self-preservation, integral to the law of nature, dictates that a person may kill another person in self-defense. This definition rests upon the presumption that any aggression by one person against another constitutes a challenge to that person's freedom. By this reasoning, one can justifiably kill a thief since an attack on one's property represents a threat to one's liberty. Locke then outlines the differences between the state of nature and the state of war, noting that the two are NOT the same. The state of nature involves people living together, governed by reason, without a common superior, whereas the state of war occurs when people make designs of force upon other people, without a common authority. In this case, the attacked party has a right to war. Want of a common judge or authority is the defining characteristic of the state of nature; force without right is adequate basis for the state of war. The difference between war in Society and war in Nature depends on when they conclude. In Society, war ends when the "actual force is over," because both parties can then resort to the common authorities for arbitration of past wrongs. In Nature, war does not end until the aggressive party offers peace and reparations for the damage done; until then, the innocent party has a right to try to destroy the aggressor. Locke notes that in the presence of a common authority that fails to act justly, the only possible state is a state of war, because the arbitrating power in place to stop war is itself in violation of the laws of nature and justice. Locke ends the chapter by noting that one of the major reasons people enter into society is to avoid the state of war, for the presence of a supreme power limits the necessity for war and increases stability and security. Locke starts Chapter 4 by defining natural liberty as a person's right to be ruled solely by the laws of nature, and social liberty as the right to be under no legislative power other than that

founded by the consent of the commonwealth, functioning for the commonwealth's benefit. Locke bases his ideas about slavery on the idea that freedom from arbitrary, absolute power is so fundamental that, even if one sought to, one could not relinquish it; it is therefore impossible for one to enlist into slavery voluntarily. The only possible state of slavery is the extension of the state of war, between a lawful conqueror and a captive, when the captive has been forced into obedience. Locke notes that even in Exodus, the Jews did not sell themselves into slavery, but simply into drudgery, for their masters did not have full power over their lives, and therefore, did not have full control over their liberty.

Chapter 5: Of Property Summary

Locke starts by stating that, whether by natural reason or the word of the Bible, the earth can be considered the property of people in common to use for their survival and benefit. He then posits a key question: if the earth and everything on it is the common property of humankind, how does one come upon individual property?

founded by the consent of the commonwealth, functioning for the commonwealth's benefit. Locke bases his ideas

For individual property to exist, there must be a means for individuals to appropriate the things around them. Locke starts out with the idea of the property of person--each person owns his or her own body, and all the labor that they perform with the body. When an individual adds their own labor, their own property, to a foreign object or good, that object becomes their own because they have added their labor. He uses the simple example of picking an apple--the apple becomes mine when I pick it,because I have added my labor to it and made it my property. This appropriation of goods does not demand the consent of humankind in general--each person has license to appropriate things in this way by individual initiative. Locke then places a bound on this type of acquisition--a person may only acquire as many things in this way as he or she can reasonably use to their advantage. To continue the apple example, I can only take as many apples as I can eat before they go bad; if I take too many apples and some of them rot and go to waste, I have overextended my natural rights of acquisition. One can only take so much as one can use. Locke applies these rules to land: a person in a state of nature can claim land by adding labor to it--building house on it or farming on it--but only so much as that person can reasonably use without waste. Locke then defines labor as the determining factor of value, the tool by which humans make their world a more advantageous and rewarding place to inhabit. Locke finishes the chapter by tracing the genesis of money. He notes that all useful goods--food, clothing, and so on--are generally of short life span. However, if one collects too many apples, one can then trade them for nuts with someone who has too many of those, and thus barter develops. Money fulfills the need for an imperishable valuation of worth, rooted in the property of labor.

Chapters 6-7: Of Paternal Power and of Political or Civil Society Summary

All people are born with an equal right to freedom. Why are they then under their parents power? Because they are born without reason, the tool that people use to survive in both the state of nature and society. Parental power extends until the child is grown old enough (Locke uses twenty-one as an example age) to function independently within society. Likewise, the commonwealth at this age attributes the responsibilities and duties of an adult to a person who reaches this age of readiness. Thus, reason leads to personal freedom.

founded by the consent of the commonwealth, functioning for the commonwealth's benefit. Locke bases his ideas

Locke's problem here is the equation of monarchical power with paternal power. He starts out by noting that if the phrase were changed to "parental power"--to include the mother in the situation-- people would not make the mistake of associating parental power with political power. Locke then notes that political power and paternal power are totally different. People are free of paternal power when they are old enough to function as individuals; but political power is built on wholly different foundations. Chapter 7 begins with Locke's description of the first society, conjugal society between a man and a woman. Locke then describes conjugal society as separate from political society; in it the master and mistress of the household have power over everyone in that household, although that power is neither absolute (they lack the power of life and death) or political. Locke reiterates his description of civil society as a united body of individuals under the power of an executive that protects their property and well being, and designs legislation to govern their behavior. Thus the commonwealth combines the legislative power to make laws and theexecutive power to enforce laws, with the public's support. The difference between this and the paternalistic society, in which people are born into filial obligations that then extend throughout their adulthood, is significant. Locke ends the chapter with a description of all the ways in which absolute monarchy violates these principles. Absolute monarchy places no common authority over all; thus, by investing the authority in one person, the entire system suffers. Since the monarch can impinge on people's property and welfare without fear of retribution, the people lack the comfort, protection, and incentive to contribute to

the good of the commonwealth. To prevent such an imbalance of power, the legislature and executive must be placed in a collective body. Thus, no individual is exempted from or above the laws of the commonwealth.

Chapters 8-9: Of the Beginning of Political Societies, and Of the Ends of Political Society and Government Locke starts off by arguing that the governing factor in civil society must be the majority, for practical reasons. By entering into civil society, the individual submits him or herself to the majority, and agrees to abide by the rules and decisions of the majority.

  • Locke then addresses two hypothetical arguments against this model. First he discusses the lack of historical precedence for government by majority rule. Locke concedes that there are many examples in the modern world and throughout history of absolute power--czars, kings, sheiks, and so on. However, he notes that societies often forget their origins, and that in fact "the beginning of politic society depends upon the consent of individuals, to join into, and make one society." He then cites historical examples supporting this idea. He concludes once again with his paternal model, putting great credibility in its historical accuracy--people coming together, and willingly submitting themselves to a central male figure's control, either within their own family or a group of families. However, even in this situation, the establishment of government is by consent, as it must be to ensure the peaceful formation of all civil societies (he notes that he will address conquest, which is clearly not consensual, in a later portion). Since people are all born under some government, they are not in fact free and at liberty to unite together to change that government. Locke's response is that, although someone may bind himself to a given government, he cannot bind his children--they are born free and must make the decision about whether to ally themselves with their parents' government. Once again, "consent makes any one a member of any commonwealth." In Chapter 9, Locke reiterates why people would give up their natural freedom to enter into society--namely, to assure the protection of their lives, liberties, and estates, all of which Locke considers property. Nature lacks three very important things, all of which a just civil society provides: "an established, settled, known law"; "a known and indifferent judge"; and the "power to back and support the sentence" In order to gain the three things above, people must relinquish their natural rights. These include the right to do as they wish within the bounds of the law of nature; the power to punish the crimes committed against natural law. The first right is partially given up by submitting oneself to the laws of civil society, which are stricter than those of nature. The second right is given up totallyin favor of putting oneself under the protection of the executive power of the society. Locke finishes by noting that this system is contingent on the three characteristics of civil society mentioned above--a law, a judge, and an executive working "to no other end, but the peace, safety, and public good of the people."

Chapters 10-11: Of the Forms of a Commonwealth, and Of the extent of the Legislative Power Summary

The majority, upon entering into a commonwealth, get to choose their form of government. They may choose a democracy, in which case they retain the legislative powers for themselves, an oligarchy, in which they submit that legislative power to a few select persons, or a monarchy, in which they give power to a single person. The monarchy may be hereditary, if it passes from the ruler to his son, or elected, if a new ruler is elected by the majority's decision whenever the old ruler dies. The majority always has the power to change types of government. The placement of legislative power defines the type of government since legislative power is the supreme power within a civil state.

founded by the consent of the commonwealth, functioning for the commonwealth's benefit. Locke bases his ideas

Locke then notes that by "commonwealth" he does not particularly mean democracy; rather he uses the term to underscore the point that the community, regardless of its form of government, exists for the commonwealth, for the good of all. Chapter 11 is devoted to a study of the legislative power, which Locke has identified as the most important part of the government. The first rule of the legislative power is the preservation of the society. No one may challenge the power of the legislative body, or pass laws of their own; all such power is invested in this body by the majority (the majority can, of course, challenge the legislative in some instances). Every member of society must adhere to the laws laid down by the legislative body. The limits to the power of the legislature include the following: the legislation must govern by fixed "promulgated established laws" that apply equally to everyone; these laws must be designed solely for the good of the people; and the legislative must not raise taxes on the property of the people without the people's consent. Here, Locke brings up what will be a constant concern: long- term office holders. This rule becomes particularly important when the legislature's members hold their positions for long periods of time, or even life; in these instances, they may think of themselves as a body separate from society, and start working for their own best

interests rather than for society's. The legislation does not have the power to transfer its power--it cannot give the right to make laws to anyone else-since the people's majority have placed this power with the legislative, and the majority's will, being the only force more powerful than the legislature, cannot be contradicted.

Chapters 12-13: Of the Legislative, Executive, and Federative Power of the Commonwealth, and Of the Subordination of the Powers of the Commonwealth Locke notes that, despite its importance, there is no need for the legislature to always be in session. It is not necessary to have a constant flow of new laws, and, in fact, a perpetually active legislature carries risks of abuse, as discussed in the last section. So the legislature, as a body or an individual, only needs to be "active" or "in session" at certain times, and is not perpetual. The executive, on the other hand, must always be active, because the laws that the legislature passes must always be enforced. For this practical reason, as well as theoretical reasons discussed later, the executive and legislative powers should be separated. Locke then moves on to discuss the international character of his civil state. All of the individuals forming the civil state and their government come together to form a single body, and this body is in a state of nature with respect to other states; in other words, international relations are governed by natural law. Locke names this the federative power, the natural power in charge of the state's international relations, and notes that it is often conjoined with the executive power, which manages the societywithin. Chapter 13 begins with a reminder that, despite the high powers of the legislature, the people are still supreme over all, and have the power to "remove or alter the legislation" as they deem best. The community is always the true supreme power. Within the government itself, however, the legislature always stands supreme. Locke notes that, even in a monarchy when the executive is vested in a single person who may also have some say in the legislature, this person only has supreme execution, not supreme control of the government. Locke notes that the executive's power over the legislature does not imply that it controls the legislature. First, if the executive impedes the meeting and acting of the legislative when it is required, this constitutes an act of war against the people, since they have a right to the protection and work of that body when the state requires it. This control of the executive over the legislative, then, is a necessary trust placed in the executive: the legislative cannot meet constantly and the executive presides in its absence. Lastly, Locke notes that a city or region may experience a major change in its population and importance, necessitating an alteration of its number of representatives accordingly. It is the executive's prerogative oversee any alteration, as long as it complies with fair and equal representation within the legislative, and rectifies disorder that may spring up in the legislative body over time. Chapters 14-15: Of Prerogative and Of Paternal, Political, and Despotical Power (treated together) Locke starts off by recognizing that, in any civil society, situations will arise that have to be dealt with before the legislative can be assembled to provide laws for them. In these instances, the executive may exerciseexecutive prerogative, or simply "good judgment." The executive is qualified to take actions that are outside the framework of the laws (not breaking them, just not provided for by them), if their actions advance the society's best interest. He defines this prerogative as "nothing but the power of doing public good without rule."

In the paternal societies discussed earlier, law wasde facto, and rule was based on executive prerogative. Locke quickly corrects a possible misunderstanding that could arise from this description: even though all laws stemmed from executive prerogative, we cannot then say that the people, or the legislative, encroaches executive prerogative by passing laws to which the executive must be

beholden. Encroachments can only be made on the public good, not on executive privilege or rights--the executive only has power inasmuch as the people invest in it. Prerogative, rather, is a trust placed by the people in the executive, which the executive is free to use so long as it uses it fairly. A good leader will be tacitly allowed a large amount of prerogative by his people if his judgments tend to benefit everyone. Thus, Locke notes that "the reigns of good princes have been always most dangerous to the liberties of their people." The danger lies in the threat of a successor who, upon seeing the freedom his predecessor was allowed, will claim the same freedoms and rights based on precedent, and abuse power. In these cases, it can be difficult for the people to wrest the power back from the new offending leader, for he has taken as a right what is in fact a trust. So, who judges when a leader has overstepped his prerogative? When the people come into conflict with some part of their government, no judge presides. Instead, the people can and must invoke "that ultimate determination to themselves which belongs to all

mankind

. . .

whether they have just cause to make their appeal to

heaven" and act against the executive in these cases.

Chapter 15 is a condensation of Locke's previous discussion of the differences between paternal, political, and despotical power. Paternal power is power that parents have over their children until they reach the age of reason (this power does not cover their property). Political power is the power that each individual in a society consents to submit to the commonwealth for the protection of their property. And despotical power is absolute, arbitrary power of one person to take the life and property of another against their will. Thus, nature gives parents paternal power, consent yields political power to the commonwealth, and forfeiture (unwillingly) gives a tyrant despotical power over his subjects.

Chapter 16-17: Of Conquest, and Of Usurpation Locke starts off by stating that an unjust conqueror never has the right to rule the conquered. Unjust conquest is always unjust in Locke's model, whether by petty thief or a despot. Locke then moves on to make provisions for the cases in which there is a lawful conquest (which he does not yet define). In lawful conquest, "The conqueror gets no power by his conquest over those that conquered with him." In other words, those that help the conqueror conquer cannot suffer from having given their aid; rather, they should benefit from it.

  • The conqueror gets despotical power over those who relinquished their rights and lives by waging unjust war. Locke notes the important limitations to this power carefully. The conqueror only gets power over the government that waged the war, not the entire populace, unless the populace explicitly sanctioned its government's unjust war. It would be unnatural for the conqueror to acquire despotic rights over a people who have done nothing to deserve the loss of their freedom. Locke goes on to note that the unjust use of force, in any context, puts one person into a state of war with another. Locke then continues his explanation of the limits of the lawful conqueror's power. Recalling the prior argument that a father cannot forfeit any of his children's rights, and remembering that an aggressor's children have a prior right to the aggressor's estate, a conqueror cannot seize the property of an aggressor. The just conqueror's right extends only to the lives of the aggressors, not to their estates, since others have a prior claim and right to the latter. Locke points out that this may necessitate certain instances in which a conqueror must "remit something of his full satisfaction." Despotic power, the power of a just conqueror over an unjust aggressor, would indeed include seizure of that aggressor's property, if no one else's rights were bound to that estate. But since the rights and survival of the aggressor's family may depend on the estate, the just conqueror must forego his lesser right to the property in the face of the family's prior, stronger claim. The just conqueror, by ignoring these claims, can become an unjust aggressor. Chapter 17 gives quick attention to usurpation, which Locke describes as domestic conquest. Usurpation is simply a change of leadership, not of the forms of rules and government, and is not right unless sanctioned by the people. A usurper has no just right to the power he has taken until the people freely confirm him as a leader.

Chapters 18-19: Of Tyranny, and Of the Dissolution of Government Locke defines tyranny as "the exercise of power beyond right." A just leader is bound by the laws of the legislative and works for the people, whereas a tyrant breaks the laws and acts on his own behalf. Locke notes that any executive body--not just a m onarchy-- that ceases to function for the benefit of the people is a tyranny. He then points out factors that limit the people from hastily opposing the government. These include: sanctity of the executive; faith that laws will prevent necessity of for ce; and the fear that a small group of individuals will never overthrow powerful leaders with success.

interests rather than for society's. The legislation does not have the power to transfer its power--itT he conqueror gets despotical power over those who relinquished their rights and lives by waging unjust war. Locke notes the important limitations to this power carefully. The conqueror only gets power over the government that waged the war, not the entire populace, unless the populace explicitly sanctioned its government's unjust war. It would be unnatural for the conqueror to acquire despotic rights over a people who have done nothing to deserve the loss of their freedom. Locke goes on to note that the unjust use of force, in any context, puts one person into a state of war with another. Locke then continues his explanation of the limits of the lawful conqueror's power. Recalling the prior argument that a father cannot forfeit any of his children's rights, and remembering that an aggressor's children have a prior right to the aggressor's estate, a conqueror cannot seize the property of an aggressor. The just conqueror's right extends only to the lives of the aggressors, not to their estates, since others have a prior claim and right to the latter. Locke points out that this may necessitate certain instances in which a conqueror must "remit something of his full satisfaction." Despotic power, the power of a just conqueror over an unjust aggressor, would indeed include seizure of that aggressor's property, if no one else's rights were bound to that estate. But since the rights and survival of the aggressor's family may depend on the estate, the just conqueror must forego his lesser right to the property in the face of the family's prior, stronger claim. The just conqueror, by ignoring these claims, can become an unjust aggressor. Chapter 17 gives quick attention to usurpation, which Locke describes as domestic conquest. Usurpation is simply a change of leadership, not of the forms of rules and government, and is not right unless sanctioned by the people. A usurper has no just right to the power he has taken until the people freely confirm him as a leader. Chapters 18-19: Of Tyranny, and Of the Dissolution of Government Locke defines tyranny as "the exercise of power beyond right." A just leader is bound by the laws of the legislative and works for the people, whereas a tyrant breaks the laws and acts on his own behalf. Locke notes that any executive body--not just a m onarchy-- that ceases to function for the benefit of the people is a tyranny. He then points out factors that limit the people from hastily opposing the government. These include: sanctity of the executive; faith that laws will prevent necessity of for ce; and the fear that a small group of individuals will never overthrow powerful leaders with success. In Chapter 19, Locke finally arrives at the question of forming a new government. When the state ceases to function for the people, it is dissolved, and may be replaced. This occurs when the legislative is changed or usurped by a tyrannical executive po wer, when the legislative or executive breaches its trust, or when the executive ignores its own duties and renders the law meaningless, reducing society to chaos. When the government is dissolved, the people are free to reform the legislative in order to re-create a civil state that works in their best interestbefore they fall under tyrannical rule. Why does this doctrine not lead to excessive unrest and f requent rebellion? For several reasons: people are slow to change their old habits and customs; if the people are miserable, they will rebel under any system; and finally, revolutions occur only in the event of the leadership's flagrant abuse of p ower or breach of trust. This system, Locke argues, protects against rebellion because it allows the people to change their legislative and laws, rather than resorting to force to overthrow them. Locke also notes that all concerns about revolution are f oolish, because they represent a fear of a righteous process: it is rightful and dignified for people to rebel against unjust oppression. Locke then calls upon William Barclay, a protector of the rights of kings, to describe situations in which people may overthrow the kings. Locke uses Barclay to prove that even a great defender of royal privilege concedes that a king may abdicate himself by abusing the power of his position, and at that point the people have the right to overthrow him. " id="pdf-obj-2-29" src="pdf-obj-2-29.jpg">

In Chapter 19, Locke finally arrives at the question of forming a new government. When the state ceases to function for the people, it is dissolved, and may be replaced. This occurs when the legislative is changed or usurped by a tyrannical executive po wer, when the legislative or executive breaches its trust, or when the executive ignores its own duties and renders the law meaningless, reducing society to chaos. When the government is dissolved, the people are free to reform the legislative in order to re-create a civil state that works in their best interestbefore they fall under tyrannical rule. Why does this doctrine not lead to excessive unrest and f requent rebellion? For several reasons: people are slow to change their old habits and customs; if the people are miserable, they will rebel under any system; and finally, revolutions occur only in the event of the leadership's flagrant abuse of p ower or breach of trust. This system, Locke argues, protects against rebellion because it allows the people to change their legislative and laws, rather than resorting to force to overthrow them. Locke also notes that all concerns about revolution are f oolish, because they represent a fear of a righteous process: it is rightful and dignified for people to rebel against unjust oppression. Locke then calls upon William Barclay, a protector of the rights of kings, to describe situations in which people may overthrow the kings. Locke uses Barclay to prove that even a great defender of royal privilege concedes that a king may abdicate himself by abusing the power of his position, and at that point the people have the right to overthrow him.

Who judges when the leader has abused his power to such an extent that he may be overthrown? The people, Locke says. The people are the best judge of whether their protector is protecting them. Locke ends by noting that, as long as society lasts, the p ower that each individual gives it cannot revert back to the individual, and, so long as any government lasts, the power that the society gives the legislative cannot revert back to the society. Either of these institutions may be destroyed by the revers ion of the powers vested in them, people always being free to "erect a new form, or under the old form place it in new hands, as they think good."