Second Treatise of Government – John Locke
Second Treatise of Government – Two Treatises of Government (or Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, The False Principles, and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, and His Followers, Are Detected and Overthrown. The Latter Is an Essay Concerning The True Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government) is a work of political philosophy published anonymously in 1689 by John Locke. The First Treatise attacks patriarchalism in the form of sentence-by-sentence refutation of Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha, while the Second Treatise outlines Locke’s ideas for a more civilized society based on natural rights and contract theory.
This publication contrasts former political works by Locke himself. In Two Tracts on Government, written in 1660, Locke defends a very conservative position; however Locke never published it. In 1669 Locke co-authored the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, which endorses aristocracy, slavery and serfdom
Macpherson provides for his readers a tightly written, meaty, and often invigorating critical assessment of Locke’s argument. In it one finds some of the best of Macpherson’s now famous criticism of liberal-democratic government.’ –Gregory E. Pyrcz in Canadian Philosophical Review
Philosopher, son of a landsteward, was born at Wrington, near Bristol, and educated at Westminster School and Oxford. In 1660 Locke became lecturer on Greek, in 1662 on Rhetoric, and in 1664 he went as secretary to an Embassy to Brandenburg. While a student he turned from the subtleties of Aristotle and the schoolmen, had studied Descartes and Bacon. Then, becoming attracted to experimental science, studied medicine, and practiced a little in Oxford. His mind had been much exercised by questions of morals and government, and in 1667 he wrote his Essay on Toleration. If not a very profound or original philosopher Locke was a calm, sensible, and reasonable writer, and his books were very influential on the English thought of his day, as well as on the French philosophy of the next century. His style is plain and clear, but lacking in brightness and variety.
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