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The Second Treatise on Civil Government

In research papers on his, The Second Treatise on Civil Government, students can show how John Locke gives the power to the people.  In fact, Locke’s The Second Treatise on Civil Government, published in 1690, is more than slightly responsible for the modern liberal-democratic state.   The Second Treatise on Civil Government begins with a liberal premise of a community of free, equal individuals, all possessed of natural rights.  This is what Locke refers to as the "state of nature".  Locke explains in The Second Treatise on Civil Government that the state of nature as a state of equality in which no one has power over another and all are free to do as they please.  The Second Treatise on Civil GovernmentHe is careful to note, however, that this should not be mistaken as free reign to abuse others, and points out that, as in nature itself, each individual has the power to execute natural law.  Locke states in The Second Treatise on Civil Government that natural law is universal and knows no boundaries of state or country when being carried out.  According to Locke, natural law simply states that the punishment must fit the crime.  A person in the state of nature can punish an offender under natural law to prevent the offender from repeating his offense.  Locke continues, in Chapter 2 of The Second Treatise on Civil Government, that all people are in a state of nature until a special contract or agreement between them makes them members of a political society.

According to Locke, every person is born into the world with the same set of natural rights...almost.  Each person, since they are born without reason, is placed under the extension of their parent’s power until they are old enough to function independently within society.  Under this idea, reason leads to freedom.  This seems to me to be a very effective method of parenting.  However, Locke raises a very important distinction between "paternal power" and "parental power".  "Parental" power would mean to include the mother in the raising of a child.  If you do not include the mother, then the father becomes a monarchical figure and thus creates a political situation which goes against the child’s natural rights and the very nature of natural law.

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