Political Views In John Locke's State Of Nature

1480 Words 6 Pages
John Locke is one of the most influential political philosophers to this day. Among many other topics, Locke continuously wrote about governmental responsibilities to their people. He wrote that people create governments to ensure the stability of order in their lives that would ultimately generate a government that protected what belonged to the people. The government has the responsibility of protecting the people’s rights, and working to preserve the will of the majority.
Before a government type is selected, according to Locke, people live in a state of nature. In the state of nature people are given certain innate rights, like the right to their life, their property, and to the prosperity in their life. In the state of nature every person
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Locke assumed that the people living in the state of nature would be rational beings capable of deciding on just punishments if someone abused their rights. They issue their own punishments, or decide to bring in a judge or a third person to help decide on a just punishment, and the punishment has to be equivalent to the crime committed. In the state of nature people enjoy the freedom of doing absolutely anything they please, so long as they do not disrupt the lifestyle of anyone else. Locke’s reflection on what a state of nature looked like was actually very closely tied to a biblical reference. The natural laws seemed to coincide with the commandments given to Moses, don’t steal, don’t kill, etc., …show more content…
In the state of nature, there is a chance that you could run into someone, blinded by vengeance, that would issue an unjust punishment, or run into another person who, deciding that the issue is not of any importance to them, issues a punishment that is too lenient. By agreeing to give a government body permission to operate the people would be signing, what Locke called, a social contract. A social contract, according to Locke, is an agreement made between the people and their chosen government. By signing up for a social contract, theoretically, the issues that occur in the state of nature are prevented from occurring. The people choose to give up most of their rights, in the hope that the government they select will give them back, ensuring a stable more enjoyable lifestyle. Locke thought that because the transfer of power would ensure that their rights would be protected, that the people would be inclined to decide that they needed government to have a better, more efficient way of living. The government they select can only have as much power as the people give to it. The majority get to decide what the government will do, and how the government will act to punish and protect. Locke firmly held that the people get to choose what they want, if they wanted government, what type of government they

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