Locke Second Treatise Chapters 8 to 12 Reading Questions Please read the attached reading files and reading questions below and briefly answer them in shor

Locke Second Treatise Chapters 8 to 12 Reading Questions Please read the attached reading files and reading questions below and briefly answer them in short paragraphs. Second Treatise of Government
John Locke
Copyright © Jonathan Bennett 2017. All rights reserved
[Brackets] enclose editorial explanations. Small ·dots· enclose material that has been added, but can be read as
though it were part of the original text. Occasional •bullets, and also indenting of passages that are not quotations,
are meant as aids to grasping the structure of a sentence or a thought. Every four-point ellipsis . . . . indicates the
omission of a brief passage that seems to present more difficulty than it is worth.—-The division into numbered
sections is Locke’s.
First launched: January 2005
Last amended: March 2008
Chapter 1
Chapter 2: The state of nature
Chapter 3: The state of war
Chapter 4: Slavery
Chapter 5: Property
Chapter 6: Paternal power
Chapter 7: Political or Civil Society
Second Treatise
John Locke
Chapter 8: The beginning of political societies
Chapter 9: The purposes of political society and government
Chapter 10: The forms of a commonwealth
Chapter 11: The extent of the legislative power
Chapter 12: The legislative, executive, and federative powers of the commonwealth
Chapter 13: The subordination of the powers of the commonwealth
Chapter 14: Prerogative
Chapter 15: Paternal, political, and despotic power, considered together
Chapter 16: Conquest
Chapter 17: Usurpation
Chapter 18: Tyranny
Chapter 19: The dissolution of government
Locke on children
Second Treatise
John Locke
Preface to the two Treatises
Reader, you have here the beginning and the end of a
·two-part· treatise about government. It isn’t worthwhile to
go into what happened to the pages that should have come
in between (they were more than half the work). [The missing
up in elegant language. If you take the trouble to tackle the
parts of Sir Robert’s discourses that are not dealt with here,
stripping off the flourish of dubious expressions and trying to
turn his words into direct, positive, intelligible propositions,
and if you then compare these propositions with one another,
you will soon be satisfied that there was never so much glib
nonsense put together in fine-sounding English. If you don’t
think it worthwhile to look through all his work, just try the
part where he discusses usurpation, and see whether all your
skill is enough to make Sir Robert intelligible and consistent
with himself and with common sense. I wouldn’t speak so
plainly of a gentleman who is no longer in a position to
answer, if it weren’t that in recent years preachers have been
espousing his doctrine and making it the current orthodoxy
of our times. . . . I wouldn’t have written against Sir Robert,
labouring to show his mistakes, inconsistencies, and lack
of the biblical proofs that he boasts of having as his only
foundation, if there weren’t men among us who, by praising
his books and accepting his doctrine, clear me of the charge
of writing only against a dead adversary. They have been so
zealous about this that if I have done him any wrong I can’t
hope they will show me any mercy. I wish that where they
have done wrong to the truth and to the public, they would
•be as ready to correct it ·as I am to admit errors proved
against me·, and that they •would give due weight to the
thought that the greatest harm one can do to the monarch
and the people is to spread wrong notions about government.
If they did, it might for ever put an end to our having reason
to complain of thunderings from the pulpit! If anyone who is
really concerned about truth tries to refute my hypothesis, I
promise him either to admit any mistake he fairly convicts
pages, that were to have been included in the Second Treatise, i.e. the
second part of the two-part treatise, were simply lost. They contained an
extended attack on Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha, a defence of the divine
right of kings, published in 1680 (Filmer had died in 1653). The lost
pages presumably overlapped the attack on the same target that filled
Locke’s First Treatise of Government and also occupy a good deal of space
in the Second.] These surviving pages, I hope, are sufficient •to
establish the throne of our great restorer, our present King
William; •to justify his title ·to the throne· on the basis of
the consent of the people, which is the only lawful basis for
government, and which he possesses more fully and clearly
than any other ruler in the Christian world; and to •justify
to the world the people of England, whose love of their just
and natural rights, and their resolve to preserve them, saved
this nation when it was on the brink of slavery and ruin
·under King James II·. If these pages are as convincing
as I flatter myself that they are, the missing pages will
be no great loss, and my reader can be satisfied without
them. ·I certainly hope so, because· I don’t expect to have
either the time of the inclination to take all that trouble
again, filling up the gap in my answer by again tracking Sir
Robert ·Filmer· through all the windings and obscurities of
his amazing system. The king and the nation as a whole
have since so thoroughly refuted his hypothesis that I don’t
think anyone ever again will be •bold enough to speak up
against our common safety, and be an advocate for slavery,
or •weak enough to be deceived by contradictions dressed
Second Treatise
John Locke
Chapter 1
as answering my book. •That I shan’t let scolding pass as
argument. . . .
me of or to answer his difficulties. But he must remember
two things: •That picking holes in my discourse—objecting
to this turn of phrase or that little incident—is not the same
Chapter 1
1. In my First Treatise of Government I showed these four
things: (1) That Adam did not have, whether by natural right
as a father or through a •positive gift from God, any such
authority over his children or over the world as has been
claimed. (2) That if even he had, his heirs would not have
the same right. (3) That if the right were to be passed on
to his heirs, it would be indeterminate who were his heirs,
because there is no law of nature or •positive law of God that
settles this question in every possible case; so it wouldn’t be
determinate who inherited the right and thus was entitled to
rule. (4) Even if all that had been ·theoretically· determined,
·it would be useless in practice·: the knowledge of the chain
of heirs running back to Adam has been utterly lost, so
that nobody in all the races of mankind and families of the
world would have the slightest claim to have that ·supposed·
right of inheritance. All these premises having, as I think,
been clearly established, no rulers now on earth can derive
the faintest shadow of authority from the supposed source
of all ·human political· power, Adam’s private dominion
and paternal rule. So if you don’t want to •give reason
to think that all government in the world is the product
purely of force and violence, and men live together only by
the same rules as the lower animals, where strength settles
every issue, and so •lay a foundation for perpetual disorder
and mischief, riots, sedition and rebellion (things that the
followers of that ·‘force and violence’· hypothesis so loudly
cry out against), you will have to find another account of the
beginnings of government, another source for political power,
and another way of settling who the people are who ·ought
to· have it—other, that is, than what Sir Robert Filmer has
taught us.
[The word •‘positive’, used in section 1 and again in 13 and elsewhere,
is a technical term. A positive law is one that some legislator imposes; it
comes from the decision of some law-making authority. The contrast is
with a natural law, which isn’t •laid down by anyone but simply •arises
out of the natures of things. So a positive gift from God would be simply
a gift as ordinarily understood; Locke throws in ‘positive’, presumably,
because even a natural right that Adam had would in a sense be a
gift from God, because God gave Adam his nature; but it wouldn’t be
a positive gift, arising from an explicit gift-giving action on God’s part.
Similarly with the notion of a positive law of God’s.].
2. For this purpose, I think it may be worthwhile to state
what I think political power is; so that the power of a
•government official over a subject can be distinguished
from that of a •father over his children, a •master over his
servant, a •husband over his wife, and a •lord over his slave.
Because it sometimes happens that one man has all these

Second Treatise
John Locke
different powers, we can get clearer about how the powers
differ by looking at the different relationships in which the
man stands: as ruler of a commonwealth, father of a family,
and captain of a galley.
3. So: I take political power to be a right to •make
2: The state of nature
laws—with the death penalty and consequently all lesser
penalties—for regulating and preserving property, and to
•employ the force of the community in enforcing such laws
and defending the commonwealth from external attack; all
this being only for the public good.
Chapter 2: The state of nature
4. To understand political power correctly and derive it
from its proper source, we must consider what state all
men are naturally in. In this state men are perfectly free
to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and
themselves, in any way they like, without asking anyone’s
permission—subject only to limits set by the law of nature.
Here are his words:
A similar natural inducement has led men to realize
that they have as much duty to love others as to love
themselves. Things that are equal must be measured
by a single standard; so if I inevitably want to receive
some good—indeed as much good from every man as
any man can want for himself—how could I expect to
have any part of my desire satisfied if I am not careful
to satisfy the similar desires that other men, being
all of the same nature, are bound to have? To offer
them anything inconsistent with their desire will be to
grieve them as much as ·it would grieve· me; so that
if I do harm I must expect to suffer, because there is
no reason why others should show more love to me
than I have shown to them. Thus, my desire to be
loved as much as possible by my natural equals gives
me a natural duty to act towards them with the same
love. Everyone knows the rules and canons natural
reason has laid down for the guidance of our lives on
the basis of this relation of equality between ourselves
and those who are like us.
It is also a state of equality, in which no-one has more
power and authority than anyone else; because it is simply
obvious that creatures of the same species and status, all
born to all the same advantages of nature and to the use
of the same abilities, should also be equal ·in other ways·,
with no-one being subjected to or subordinate to anyone
else, unless ·God·, the lord and master of them all, were to
declare clearly and explicitly his wish that some one person
be raised above the others and given an undoubted right to
dominion and sovereignty
5. The judicious ·Richard· Hooker regards this natural
equality of men as so obvious and unquestionable that he
bases on it men’s •obligation to love one another, on which
he builds their •duties towards each other, from which ·in
turn· he derives the great •maxims of justice and charity.
Second Treatise
John Locke
6. But though this is a state of •liberty, it isn’t a state of
•licence ·in which there are no constraints on how people
behave·. A man in that state is absolutely free to dispose
of himself or his possessions, but he isn’t at liberty to
destroy himself, or even to destroy any created thing in
his possession unless its destruction is required for some
nobler purpose. The state of nature is governed by a law that
creates obligations for everyone. And reason, which is that
law, teaches anyone who takes the trouble to consult it, that
because we are all equal and independent, no-one ought to
harm anyone else in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.
This is because
•we are all the work of one omnipotent and infinitely
wise maker;
•we are all the servants of one sovereign master, sent
into the world by his order to do his business;
•we are all the property of him who made us, and he
made us to last as long as he chooses, not as long as
we choose;
•we have the same abilities, and share in one common
nature, so there can’t be any rank-ordering that would
authorize some of us to destroy others, as if we were
made to be used by one another, as the lower kinds
of creatures are made to be used by us.
Everyone is obliged to preserve himself and not opt out of
life willfully, so for the same reason everyone ought, when
his own survival isn’t at stake, to do as much as he can to
preserve the rest of mankind; and except when it’s a matter
of punishing an offender, no-one may take away or damage
anything that contributes to the preservation of someone
else’s life, liberty, health, limb, or goods.
2: The state of nature
of all mankind may be obeyed, the enforcement of that law
of nature (in the state of nature) is in every man’s hands, so
that everyone has a right to punish law-breakers as severely
as is needed to hinder the violation of the law. For the law of
nature, like every law concerning men in this world, would be
futile if no-one had power to enforce it and thereby preserve
the innocent and restrain offenders. And in the state of
nature if anyone may punish someone for something bad
that he has done, then everyone may do so. . . .
8. That is how in a state of nature one man comes to have
a ·legitimate· power over another. It isn’t an unconditional
power, allowing him to use a captured criminal according
to the hot frenzy or unbridled extremes of his own will;
but only a power to punish him so far as calm reason and
conscience say is proportionate to his crime, namely as much
punishment as may serve for •reparation and •restraint—for
•those two are the only reasons why one man may lawfully
harm another, which is what we call ‘punishment’. By
breaking the law of nature, the offender declares himself
to live by some rule other than that of reason and common
fairness (which is the standard that God has set for the
actions of men, for their mutual security); and so he becomes
dangerous to mankind because he has disregarded and
broken the tie that is meant to secure them from injury
and violence. This is an offence against the whole ·human·
species, and against the peace and safety that the law of
nature provides for the species. Now, every man, by the right
he has to preserve mankind in general, may restrain and if
necessary destroy things that are noxious to mankind; and
so he can do to anyone who has transgressed that law as
much harm as may make him repent having done it, and
thereby deter him—and by his example deter others—from
doing the same. So for this reason every man has a right to
enforce the law of nature and punish offenders.
7. So that •all men may be held back from invading the
rights of others and from harming one another, and so that
•the law of nature that aims at the peace and preservation
Second Treatise
John Locke
9. No doubt this will seem a very strange doctrine to some
people; but before they condemn it, I challenge them to
explain what right any king or state has to put to death
or ·otherwise· punish a foreigner for a crime he commits
in their country. The right is certainly not based on their
laws, through any permission they get from the announced
will of the legislature; for such announcements don’t get
through to a foreigner: they aren’t addressed to him, and
even if they were, he isn’t obliged to listen. . . . Those who
have the supreme power of making laws in England, France
or Holland are to an Indian merely like the rest of the world,
men without authority. So if the law of nature didn’t give
every man a power to punish offences against it as he soberly
judges the case to require, I don’t see how the judiciary of
any community can punish someone from another country;
because they can’t have any more power over him than every
man can naturally have over another.
2: The state of nature
injured party has to get reparation. Now, a magistrate, who
by being magistrate has the common right of punishing
put into his hands, can by his own authority (i) cancel the
punishment of a criminal offence in a case where the public
good doesn’t demand that the law be enforced; but he can’t
(ii) cancel the satisfaction due to any private man for the
damage he has received. The only one who can do that is
the person who has been harmed. The injured party has
the power of taking for himself the goods or service of the
offender, by right of •self-preservation; and everyone has a
power to punish the crime to prevent its being committed
again, by the right he has of preserving •all mankind, and
doing everything reasonable that he can to that end. And
so it is that in the state of nature everyone has a power
to kill a murderer, both •to deter others from this crime
that no reparation can make up for, by the example of the
punishment that everyone inflicts for it, and also •to secure
men from future crimes by this criminal; the murderer has
renounced reason, the common rule and standard God has
given to mankind, and by the unjust violence and slaughter
he has committed on one person he has declared war against
all mankind, so that he can be destroyed as though he were
a lion or a tiger. . . . This is the basis for the great law of
nature, Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood
be shed. Cain was so fully convinced that everyone had a
right to destroy such a criminal that after murdering his
brother he cried out ‘Anyone who finds me will slay me’—so
plainly was this law written in the hearts of all mankind.
10. As well as •the crime that consists in violating the law
and departing from the right rule of reason—crime through
which man becomes so degenerate that he declares that he
is deserting the principles of human nature and becoming
vermin—there is often •transgression through which someone does harm to someone else. In the latter case, the person
who has been harmed has, in addition to the general right of
punishment that he shares with everyone else, a particular
right to seek reparation from the person who harmed him;
and anyone else who thinks this just may also join with
the injured party and help him to recover from the offender
such damages as may make satisfaction for the harm he has
12. For the same reason a man in the state of nature may
punish lesser breaches of the law of nature. ‘By death?’
you may ask. I answer that each offence may be punished
severely enough to make it a bad bargain for the offender, to
give him reason to repent, and to terrify others from offending
in the same way. Every offence that can be •committed in
11. So there are two distinct rights: (i) the right that
everyone has, to punish the criminal so as to restrain him
and prevent such offences in future; (ii) the right that an
Second Treatise
John Locke
the state of nature may also be •punished in the state of
nature—and punished in the same way (as far as possible)
as it would be in a commonwealth. I don’t want to go into the
details of the law of nature or of its punitive measures, ·but I
will say this much·:- It is certain that there is a •law of nature,
which is as intelligible and plain to a reasonable person who
studies it as are the •positive laws of commonwealths. [See the
explanation of ‘positive’ after section 1.] It may even be plainer—as
much plainer as •reason i…
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