JOHN LOCKE (1632 - 1704)
CONCERNING CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
Man in a State of
1. "we must consider what estate all men are
naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons
as they see fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man.
A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another,"
2. "But though this is a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of license; though
man in that state have an uncontrollable liberty to dispose of his person and possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy
himself, or so much as any creature in his possession,"
3. "The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one, and
reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought
to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions;"
4. "And that all men may be restrained from invading others' rights, and from doing
hurt to one another, and the law of Nature be observed, which willeth the peace and preservation of all mankind, the execution
of the law of Nature is in that state put into every man's hands, whereby every one has a right to punish the transgressors
of that law to such a degree as may hinder its violation."
5. "every man in the state of Nature has the power to kill a murderer, both to deter
others from doing the like injury (which no reparation can compensate) by the example of the punishment that attends it from
everybody, and also to secure men from the attempts of a criminal who, having renounced reason,.....by the unjust violence
and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed"
6. "in the State of nature everyone has the executive power of the law of Nature....
it is unreasonable for men to be judges in their own cases, that self-love will make men partial to themselves and their friends;
and, on the other side, ill nature, passion, and revenge will carry them too far in punishing others, and hence, nothing but
confusion and disorder will follow, and that therefore God hath certainly appointed government to restrain the partiality
and violence of men. I easily grant that civil government is the proper remedy for the inconveniences of the state of Nature,"
7. "I will not oppose the authority of the judicious Hooker, where he says,""to supply those
defects and imperfections which are in us, as living single and solely by ourselves, we are naturally induced to seek communion
and fellowship with others; this was the cause of men uniting themselves as first in politic societies.... all men are naturally
in that state, and remain so till, by their own consents, they make themselves members of some politic society,"
Right to Self-preservation
1. "force upon the person of another, where there is no common superior on earth to appeal
to for relief, is the state of war; and it is the want of such an appeal gives a man the right of war even against an aggressor,
though he be in society and a fellow subject. Thus a thief whom I cannot harm, but by appeal to law, for having stolen all
that I am worth, I may kill when he sets on me to rob me but of my horse or coat, because the law, which was made for my preservation,
where it cannot interpose to secure my life from present force, which if lost is capable of no reparation, permits me my own
defense and the right of war, a liberty to kill the aggressor, because the aggressor allows not time to appeal to our common
judge, nor the decision of the law, for remedy in a case where the mischief may be irreparable."
1. "it is very clear that God, as king David says (Psalm 115. 16), "has given the earth to the children of men," given
it to mankind in common."
2. "every man has a "property" in
his own "person". This nobody has a right to but himself. The "labour" of his body and the "work" of his hands, we may say
are properly his."
3. "But how far has He given it us
--"to enjoy"? As much as any one can make use of to any advantage of life before it spoils, so much he may by his labor fix
a property in. Whatever is beyond this is more than his share, and belongs to others. Nothing was made by God for man to spoil
4. "As much land as a man tills,
plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product of, so much is his property. He by his labour does, as it were, enclose
it from the common... God and his reason commanded him to subdue the earth.... He that, in obedience to this command of God,
subdued, tilled, and sowed any part of it, thereby annexed to it something that was his property, which another had no title
to, nor could without injury take from him."
5. "Nobody could think himself injured
by the drinking of another man, though he took a good draught, who had a whole river of the same water left him to quench
6. "its is labour indeed that puts
the difference of value on everything;.... that of the products of the earth useful to the life of man, nine-tenths are the
effects of labour."
7. "Thus labour, in the beginning,
gave a right of property, wherever any one was pleased to employ it, upon what was common, which remained a long while, the
far greater part, and is yet more than mankind makes use of."
8. "Right and conveniency went together.
For as a man had a right to all he could employ his labour upon, so he had no temptation to labour for more than he could
make use of. This left no room for controversy about the title, nor for encroachment on the rights of others. What portion
a man carved to himself was easily seen; and it was useless, as well as dishonest, to carve himself too much, or take more
than he needed."
Beginning Civil Society
1. "no political society can be, nor subsist, without having itself the power to preserve the property, and in order
thereunto punish the offenses of all those of that society, there, and there only, is political society where every one of
the members hath quitted this natural power, resigned it up into the hands of the community in all cases that exclude him
not from appealing for protection to the law established by it."
2. "the end of civil society being to avoid and
remedy those inconveniences of the state of Nature which necessarily follow from every man's being judge in his own case,"
3. "Wherever any persons are who have not such
an authority to appeal to, and decide any difference between them there, those persons are still in a state of Nature."
4. "Men being,....by nature all free, equal, and
independent, no one can be put out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent,
which is done by agreeing with other men."
5. "For where the majority cannot conclude the
rest, there they cannot act as one body, and consequently will be immediately dissolved again."
6. "reason being plain on our side that men are
naturally free; and the examples of history showing that the governments of the world, that were begun in peace, had their
beginning laid on that foundation, and were made by the consent of the people;"
7. "The great and chief end, therefore, of men uniting into
commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property; to which in the state of Nature
there are many things wanting."
On Legislative Authority
1. "the first and fundamental law of all commonwealths is the
establishing of the legislative power, as the first and fundamental natural law which is to govern even the legislative. Itself
is the preservation of the society and (as far as will consist with the public good) of every person in it. This legislative
is not only the supreme power of the commonwealth, but sacred and unalterable in the hands where the community have once placed
it. Nor can any edict of anybody else, in what form soever conceived, or by what power soever backed, have the force and obligation
of a law which has not its sanction from that legislative which the public has chosen and appointed;"
2. "Their power (legislative power) in the utmost
bounds of it is limited to the public good of the society. It is a power that hath no other end but preservation, and therefore
can never have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects;"
3. "the law of Nature stands as an eternal rule
to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions must, as well as their own and
other men's actions, be conformable to the laws of Nature -- i.e. to the will of God, of which that is a declaration, and
the fundamental law of Nature being the preservation of mankind, no human sanction can be good or valid against it."
4. "Absolute arbitrary power, or governing without
settled standing laws, can neither of them consist with the ends of society and government, which men would not quit the state
of Nature for, and tie themselves up under, were it not to preserve their lives, liberties, and fortunes, and by stated rules
of right and property to secure their peace and quiet."
5. "the supreme power cannot take from any man
any part of his property without his own consent. For the preservation of property being the end of government, and that for
which men enter into society, it necessarily supposes and requires that the people should have property, without which they
must be supposed to lose that by entering into society which was the end for which they entered into it; too gross an absurdity
for any man to own."
6. "First: They are to govern by promulgated established
laws, not to be varied in particular cases, but to have one rule for rich and poor, for the favorite at Court, and the countryman
at plough. Secondly: These laws also ought to be designed for no other end ultimately but the good of the people. Thirdly:
They must not raise taxes on the property of the people without the consent of the people given by themselves or their deputies."
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
We are capable of knowing there is a God
1. "having furnished us with those faculties our minds are endowed with, he has not
left himself without witness: since we have sense, perception, and reason, and cannot want a clear proof of him, as long as
we carry ourselves about us."
2. "yet it requires thought and attention; and the mind must apply itself to a regular
deduction of it from some part of our intuitive knowledge..."
3. "I think we need to go no further than ourselves, and that undoubted knowledge we
have of our own existence."
4. "man has a clear idea of his own being; he knows certainly he exists, and that he
5. "if anyone pretends to be so sceptical as to deny his own existence, let him for
me enjoy his beloved happiness of being nothing, until hunger or some other pain convince him of the contrary."
Man knows that nothing cannot produce a being; therefore something must have existed
1. "man knows that bare nothing can no more produce any real being, than it can be equal to
two right angles."
2. "If, therefore, we know that there is some real being, and that nonentity cannot produce
any real being, it is an evident demonstration, that from eternity there has been something; since what was not from eternity
had a beginning; and what had a beginning must be produced by something else."
3. "Next, it is evident, that what had its being and beginning from another, must also have
all that which is in and belongs to its being from another too."
4. "a man finds himself with perception and knowledge." "If it be said, there was a time when
no being had any knowledge, when that eternal being was void of all understanding; I reply, that then it was impossible there
should ever had been any knowledge: it being as impossible that things wholly void of knowledge, and operating blindly, and
without any perception, should produce a knowing being,"
And Therefore God
1. "Thus from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own
constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth -- That there is an eternal, most powerful,
and most knowing being; which whether anyone will please to call God, it matters not."