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John Locke Second Treatise Of Civil Government

725 words - 3 pages

Locke believed that it is the natural right of all people to be free. Unfortunately, in a state of nature, the weak become deprived of their rights by the brutish. Locke states that government is necessary to protect the life and property of ordinary citizens, only because without it, the people cannot be free. Locke also advocated a strong set of checks and balances. He believed that the citizens themselves were the final set of checks and balances, and that it was their obligation to overthrow a government that was not protecting its people. He goes on to say that a government must be favorable towards the people, because they must willingly submit to it. If people are forced into a government, they will undoubted overthrow it. This argument carries foreword on to his discussion of the Legislative and Executive powers.Locke's thoughts on the powers of the executive and legislative branches are very similar to those outlined in the constitution. Locke believes that all people ...view middle of the document...

Locke declares that the legislative powers are necessary in order to create laws that are favorable to the citizens, in order to appropriately exploit the executive branch. The legislative powers are to govern fairly and evenly over the populous, and are not to create laws that affect different classes of society (ex. rich and poor) differently. These laws must also not raise taxes or tariffs without the express consent of the citizens. Locke believes that Legislative powers must represent the majority but still respect the needs of the minority. If the Legislative powers could successfully emulate what the citizens wanted, then the Executive branch could effectively govern the people, to their taste.I agree with Locke on most of his arguments. I think that in an ideal government, the legislators would properly represent the citizens and work for the good of everyone. Also, I agree on his thoughts regarding overthrowing the government. I feel that it is the responsibility of the citizens to ultimately remove a government that does not properly protect its citizens' rights. On the other hand, I think that he is tool idealistic. I think that it is impossible to create a government that equally protects the citizens when it is created from the very citizens that could not live together in a state of nature. I think that people are greedy and selfish due to human instinct and that it is the citizens themselves who must overcome their predispositions in order to create a perfect government. I do not believe that a government that acts for its own good rather than the good of its citizens is to blame. Its members are merely citizens and are not infallible. It is meant to represent the people and it will simply represent them too well. It will adopt the same characteristics of the people it is meant to emulate, and that will forever be its downfall. In my opinion it is only possible to create an imitation of the government Locke suggests. If people cannot live together in agreement, without having to answer to a higher authority, then a small delegation of these same people surely cannot create a set of rules that is fair to each and every citizen it is meant to represent.Woll, Peter. American Government: Readings and Cases. 16th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2006.

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