John Locke Civil Government Analysis

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In John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government, he argues for his vision of society that has a small and restrained consent-driven government that respects the rights of its inhabitants. Locke might be best known for his unbounding aspirations of productivity and theory of a government being based on the consent of the governed, yet one of his most intriguing theories revolve around when citizens can rise up and dissolve a government. This is an essential theme of the treatise, and Locke addresses it at the end with a strong defense. While Locke strives to find harmony in his consent driven society, he opens the door to many more revolutions and constant change that he would hope to avoid for the benefit of the society and of the people. …show more content…
As opposed to the philosophers before him, Locke determined that the best system of government would be one where there was either explicit or tacit consent for a ruler or political system. Locke argued that this would best serve the citizens interests because the legislature would be committed to supporting their interests. Locke also envisioned a smaller and more limited government that tried not to interfere with the rights and liberties of the people. Locke argues that his dynamic would be encouraging to individuals who fear the state of nature and the risks associated with a lack of governing body that can protect property and the right to life. Locke assumes that people will give up their individual autonomy for protection and a better shot at immense freedom. This initial assumption is critical in understanding why the issue of revolution is very …show more content…
The first condition is that of a change to the legislature. Locke argues that this is a basic violation of the consent of the governed that is the building block of government itself. He says, “This is the soul that gives form, life, and unity to the commonwealth” (370). When men come together to give consent, they entrust their entire being, physical and immaterial, to the government. A change to the essential nature of the legislature is a breaking of the bond that brings a community together and releases the people from an obligation to follow the government. This is one condition for rebellion that Locke isolates in his text, and Locke provides numerous examples of how this could look in society. The first example is of a single ruler that makes independent laws outside of the legislature. This is equivalent to the change of the legislature because the legislature no longer has political power rendering it moot for governing the society. The second example relates to a ruler that prevents the legislature of adequately doing to duty to the people. This condition can arise when the legislature is stymied “from assembling in its due time,” lacks the freedom to debate issues, and is not followed by the executive (371). Each one of this cases is in effect a change in the legislature in the it cannot do its job. The third

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