Locke: Two Treatises of Government Student Edition

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 28, 1988 - History - 464 pages
2 Reviews
Peter Laslett's edition of Locke's "Two Treatises of Government" is widely recognised as one of the classic pieces of recent scholarship in the history of ideas, and has been read and used by students of politcal theory throughout the world. Dr. Laslett demonstrated that the version usually cited was in no way a representation of that 'text for posterity' Locke left behind, and exhaustive analysis of Lock's private papers and personal library caused Dr. Laslett radically to alter the received notion that the "Two Treatises" were in any sense a rationalization of the events of 1688: Locke's texts were rather a call for a revolution yet to come.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
3
2 LOCKE THE MAN AND LOCKE THE WRITER
16
3 TWO TREATISES OF GOVERNMENT AND THE REVOLUTION OF 1688
45
4 LOCKE AND HOBBES
67
5 THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THEORY OF TWO TREATISES OF GOVERNMENT
93
THE DATING OF THE COMPOSITION OF TWO TREATISES
123
EDITORIAL NOTE
127
THE TEXT
135
PREFACE
137
FIRST TREATISE
141
SECOND TREATISE
265
SUGGESTED READING
429
BIBLIOGRAPHY
433
INDEX
451
Copyright

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About the author (1988)

John Locke's works of political and social philosophy, written in the 17th century, have strongly influenced intellectuals ever since - including the founders of the United States of America. Born in 1632 in Wrington, England, Locke studied at Christ Church, Oxford, where he earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in the late 1650's. He also studied medicine and earned a medical license. His studies led to an interest in contemporary philosophers influenced by science, such as Rene Descartes. Locke read widely among them while teaching at Christ Church over the next few years. In 1667, Locke became personal physician and adviser to Anthony Ashley Cooper, who later was appointed Earl of Shaftesbury. Through Shaftesbury's patronage, Locke earned some government posts and entered London's intellectual circles, all the while writing philosophy. He was one of the best-known European thinkers of his time when he died in 1704. In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), Locke established the philosophy of empiricism, which holds that the mind at birth is a blank tablet. Experience, Locke believed, would engrave itself upon the tablet as one grew. He felt humans should create theories according to experience and test them with experiments. This philosophy helped establish the scientific method. Locke codified the principals of liberalism in "Two Treatises of Government" (1690). He emphasized that the state must preserve its citizens' natural rights to life, liberty and property. When the state does not, Locke argued, citizens are justified in rebelling. His view of liberalism comprised limited government, featuring elected representation and legislative checks and balances. While a Christian, Locke believed in absolute separation of church and state, and he urged toleration of those whose religious views differed from the majorities.

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