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Two Treatises of Government

By: John Locke
Narrated by: Alastair Cameron
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Two Treatises of Government is a work of political philosophy that outlined a concept foreign to the American people who, at the time, were still under English monarchy. This concept is what we now call democracy and advocated for a system in which all people were afforded rights to freedom and property ownership. The book was intended to push forward the ideas on contract theory and natural rights. Thomas Jefferson borrowed many of the ideas of Two Treatises of Government while writing the Declaration of Independence.

The first treatise was an attack on the contemporary religious philosopher at that time, Sir Robert Filmer. Locke argues that the theory of Adam, being ordained through God to have dominion over all people of the earth, was absurd. The theory of monarchs being direct descendants of Adam, therefore having a right to the throne, could not possibly be proven as the lineage was not able to be traced.

In the second treatise, Locke engaged in a political discussion regarding power, government, and reason. He argues that the state of nature, a theory of the time that all humans were born with in a condition of absolute freedom and equality, was an idea that government systems needed to be built upon. Based on this theory, Locke develops a government that guarantees three basic rights to all people - life, liberty, and property.

©2016 A.R.N. Publications (P)2016 A.R.N. Publications

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