John Locke and Private Property Analytical Essay by Research Group

John Locke and Private Property
Examines the views of philosopher John Locke on the subject of property.
# 26483 | 1,025 words | 1 source | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on May 05, 2003 in Philosophy (General) , Political Science (John Locke)

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John Locke wrote at a time of social unrest and questioning, at a time when the long-standing sovereignty of kings as ordained by God was being questioned. Locke did not see the power of kings as derived from the will of God but rather as developing as the result of some social condition. The paper shows that Locke asked first what state man would be in if there were no government and he found that human beings originated in the state of nature, the state that existed before human beings came together to form a society and a government. It shows that Locke saw this state of nature as placing the individual into a state of perfect freedom, with no necessity to ask any other person before determining his or her own actions or disposing of their own property. Property was an essential element in Locke's thinking, with the relationship of the individual to his property as being of paramount importance. The paper shows that the ownership of property was seen as a fundamental right, meaning that it was a right born in the state of nature. For Locke, the defense of individual liberty is inseparable from the defense of private property.

From the Paper:

"The individual in society does not have absolute freedom, showing that something has been lost from the state of nature. Locke sees human beings as having agreed to give up certain rights and powers through some form of agreement. Society is thus formed when men cede certain powers to a central authority. Private property rights are to be protected by this state that has been created--human beings have given up certain rights in order to assure the protection of their property from the depredations of others. Locke traces the concept of private property from the time when God gave the world to Adam and his posterity. Locke sees political power as being "for the regulating and preserving of property" (Locke 4), among other things."

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