Second Treatise of Government by John Locke

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by John Locke

Philosophy Political Science Natural Rights Social Contract Property Government Legitimacy State of Nature

4 hours 51 minutes

Second Treatise of Government is a treatise on political philosophy written by John Locke and published anonymously in 1690, a year after the first treatise. In this second treatise, an introduction to Locke's theory of political or civil society based on natural rights and the social contract is made.

Locke develops his theory of the State and how to organize and deal with it in order to establish the best possible form of power. He attempts to dismiss the idea of tyrannicide and states that a constitutional king is valid as long as he is subservient to the power of Parliament.

Knowing that one of the main problems of political systems is corruption, Locke proposes dividing power into three parts:

  • A Legislative Power, the main power and elected and appointed by the people.
  • An Executive Power, elected by the Legislative Power.
  • A Federative Power, in charge of foreign relations.

"Sect. 1. It having been shewn in the foregoing discourse,
(1). That Adam had not, either by natural right of fatherhood, or by positive donation from God, any such authority over his children, or dominion over the world, as is pretended..."


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About John Locke

John Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as...

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