Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Second Treatise of Civil Government
The Second Treatise of Civil Government (sometimes The Second Treatise on Civil Government) was written by the philosopher John Locke and was originally published in the year 1690. In this work, Locke lays out his philosophy for the creation and mechanics of civil society. A theory of property is central to Locke's understanding of the role of civil government, a main function of which is to protect this property. Locke is concerned with developing a moral justification for individual right to property in the absence of the consent of the people.
Locke's attempt to develop a moral justification for individual ownership of property is in part a reaction to Filmer, who had argued that "the only way out of original communism was to assume that in some way or other every individual in the world had consented to every act of property acquisition". Locke begins by agreeing with Fillmer. He refers to scripture to show that "God as King David says, Psal. CXV. Xvj. Has given the Earth to the Children of Men, given it to Mankind in common". Locke accepts the premise that men share a right over the world. The problem then is to show that "Men might come to have property ... without any express Compact of all the Commoners." Locke's answer is that "every Man has a Property in his own Person" and "The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his hands, we may say, are properly his" (287-288). For Locke, a man may come to be morally justified in his individual ownership of property when "he has mixed his Labour" (288) with it.
It is clear to Locke that individual ownership of property is morally justifiable without the consent of the people. He also argues that it is practical, saying that if common consent were necessary, "Children or Servants could not cut the Meat which their Father and Master had provided for them in common, without assigning every one his peculiar part" (289). Therefore, individual ownership of property is established as both morally justifiable and practical.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details