You are on page 1of 3

Students will individually read and analyze a selected reading from John Locke's Second Treatise of Government and

be able apply those ideas to the Bill of ights and the !"S" #onstitution" Students will answer $uestions from this paper" % have posted suggested responses that the students may make" John Lockes Second Treatise on Government
Martin Luther King once said Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. The importance of John Loc e!s "econd Treatise on #overnment can be seen throughout the history of the age of $nlightenment as %ell as the &evolutionary 'ar in (merica. John Loc e!s philosophy helped our nations founding fathers argue for revolutionary change. Loc e!s ideas have been used as an essential guideline in our history) from* Thomas Jefferson %ho uses John Loc e!s thesis paper to +ustify the (merican &evolution) to Martin Luther King and the (frican (merican!s struggles) to ,ady "tanton!s struggle for %omen!s suffrage. The idea for modern democracy came from the and -/th century during the age of $nlightenment. 0hilosophers such as John Loc e helped define the basic elements of democracy) including human rights and liberty. 1emocracy guarantees basic human rights to every person) %e the people have freedom of opinion) religious liberty) a e2ual right to vote and separation of po%ers. -. 1iscuss Loc e3s vie%s of human nature) property) and po%er. John Loc e believes humans are driven from our emotions as %ell as our ability to reason. 4e says) The state all men are naturally in) is a state of perfect freedom. 'e are given this freedom because #od has given us the po%er to reason. 4e says) Man originally exists in a state of nature in which he need answer only to the laws of nature. In this state of nature, men are free to do as they please, so long as they preserve peace and preserve mankind in general. 5 believe that John Loc e sees man ind as social beings. 4e 2uotes the (merican frontier and "oldania as e6amples of people in the state of nature) %here property rights and 7for the most part8 peace e6isted. 0rinces are in a state of nature %ith regard to each other. &ome and 9enice %ere in a state of nature shortly before they %ere officially founded. 5n any place %here it is socially acceptable to oneself punish %rongdoings done against you) for e6ample on the (merican frontier) people are in a state of nature. Though such places and times are insecure) violent conflicts are often ended by the forcible imposition of a +ust peace on evil doers) and peace is normal. 7http*

-.- 1o you agree %ith his position; Loo ing throughout history and e6amining fundamental human behavior 5 do agree %ith John Loc e!s ideas on human nature. 4o%ever 5 %ould also say that emotions and reason do not alone e6plain human behavior because deep do%n people have passions and drives that do not e6plain there choices. 0assion is a very strong emotion; you can see it at %or %hen 0resident ,linton ris ed his position in office for a love affair) or %hen a millionaire gives up their fashionable lifestyle to go travel the %orld. 5 do agree more %ith John Loc e than %ith the earlier ideas of Thomas 4obbes. 4obbes believed humans are desire<driven. 5 do believe our desires are important but human emotions are the strongest driving points a human has. John Loc e strongly believes that %e are capable of self government) because %e have in our human nature the ability to reason. 4e says that humanity in general can be trusted) and +ust because one person is bad does not mean everyone else is bad. John Loc e!s concept of human nature is the driving point for democracy. 'e must be able to understand and reason %hat human freedom is as %ell as the role %e have in protecting human freedom. =ased on Loc e!s thesis humans are free) and %e are free to live) die and choose our o%n paths. This is sho%n by %hen he states that all men e6ist in a state of perfect freedom to order their actions) and dispose of their possessions and persons as they thin fit) %ithin the bounds of the la% of >ature) 755* ?8. Loc e defines property as to mean that property %hich men have in their persons as %ell as 7their8 goods. 755*-.@8 and that Man being born A Bhath by nature a po%er not only to preserve his property) that is) his life) liberty) and estateA. 755* /.8. C. 4o% does Loc e e6plain the e6istence of governments and their roles; 5n John Loc e!s BThe "econd Treatise of #overnment! he says that in order to have a government man ind must agree to give up some of their basic rights and freedoms in order to maintain a civil society. John Loc e says once a democratic government is created the government does not have the po%er or authority to restrict citiDens from their basic freedoms unless they are trying to prevent harm to another citiDen. The government does have the right to ta e action in order to prevent harm because all citiDens have the right to life. C.- 1o you agree %ith his assessment here; 5 do agree %ith Loc e because he says every man is created e2ual and %e have the basic rights of life and the pursuit of happiness. 5n society %e come together to bring the protection of our freedoms to ourselves and our citiDens. $ven though 5 do agree %ith Loc e 5 also believe that no one is perfect. 5 do

believe Loc e is correct. There is some debate that John Loc e!s vie% on freedom is at conflict because our local and national government have established rules. &ule!s and freedom seem to be contrasting ideas. Though John Loc e vie%s rules as an important part of our freedoms) many people vie% rules as an obstacle that can hinge freedom. 4o%ever in e6amining John Loc e!s BThe "econd Treatise of #overnment! he says that in order to have a government %e agree to give up some of their basic rights and freedoms as a society. This is sho%n by his statement) political power is the natural power of each man collectively given up into the hands of a designated body. This means that government exists only for the well-being and protection of the nation, and any government that does not do their ob, should be replaced. If a government is doing its ob, the people it rules should flourish. 5 believe there is no such thing as a perfect government. The government can only be as good as it!s people. 'hen democracy fails it is not the government!s fault but the people!s. 5 believe there are incidents such as the civil rights movements and segregation %hen the founding ideas in the constitution %ere challenged. 'e the people have had to fight to defend democracy from %ithin) from the -EFG!s to #eorge '. =ush3s democratic e6periment in 5ra2. 'e the people have continually battle for liberty since the &evolutionary %ar. There are incidents that have given rise to forces that have threatened our very freedom but it is the result from %hen a large mass population gives po%er to ideas that are against the constitution. 1emocracy can only be as good as %e the people choose to ma e it. $6amples of our democracy at its %orst is < the ability to react to hurricane Katrina ,risis < the cold %ar and foreign policy < the current police action in the middle east < The =ush administration 5 understand that democracy is collective) the %ord itself means; rule by the people. 5 agree %ith Loc e!s vie% because every man is born %ith rights and %e come together in society to share those rights and protect each other!s rights) even if that means %e give up some of our rights in order to have a governing body. C.C 'hy or %hy not; C.@ 4o% does this relate to H.". vie%s of government; ,onclusion* The ideas of John Loc e are deeply rooted throughout history. (merica and our thoughts on modern day democracy %ould not be the same %ithout him.