Of The Beginning Of Political Societies

911 words - 4 pages

Introduction to Political Science
Of the Beginning of Political Societies
The author of this article is John Locke is among the most influential political philosophers of the modern period. Locke's political theory was founded on social contract theory. Unlike Thomas Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature is characterized by reason and tolerance. Like Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature allowed men to be selfish. This is apparent with the introduction of currency. In a natural state all people were equal and independent, and everyone had a natural right to defend his “Life, health, Liberty, or Possessions", basis for the phrase in the American Declaration of ...view middle of the document...

These include the right to do as they wish within the bounds of the law of nature; the power to punish the crimes committed against natural law. The first right is partially given up by submitting oneself to the laws of civil society, which are stricter than those of nature. The second right is given up totally in favor of putting oneself under the protection of the executive power of the society. Locke finishes by noting that this system is contingent on the three characteristics of civil society mentioned above--a law, a judge, and an executive working "to no other end, but the peace, safety, and public good of the people."
To review, briefly: man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom and an uncontrolled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of Nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power not only to preserve his property—that is, his life, liberty, and estate against the injuries and attempts of other men, but to judge of an punish the breaches of that law in others, as he is persuaded the offence deserves, even with death itself, in crimes where the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion, requires it. But because no political society can be, nor subsist, without having in itself the power to preserve the property, and in order thereunto punish the offences of all those of that society, there, and there only, is political society where every one of the members hath quitted this natural power, resigned it up into the hands of the...

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