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Second Treatise of Government 1st Edition
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The editor of this edition, C. B. Macpherson, gives a little background and overview in his introduction to this book. He writes that the book "was directed against the principles of Sir Robert Filmer, whose books, asserting the divine authority of kings and denying any right of resistance, were thought by Locke and his fellow Whigs to be too influential among the gentry to be left unchallenged by those who held that resistance to an arbitrary monarch might be justified." (p. viii)
Locke's book served as a philosophical justification for revolting against tyrannical monarchies in the Glorious Revolution and the American Revolution. His book was practically quoted in the Declaration of Independence.
Locke lays out his basis for government on the foundation that people are able to reason. Because of this, people have inherent freedoms or natural rights. Though he believed in reason, Locke was an empiricist, meaning he believed that all knowledge of the world comes from what our senses tell us. The mind starts as a "tabula rasa", latin for an empty slate. As soon as we are born, we immediately begin learning ideas. Thus, all the material for our knowledge of the world comes to us through sensations. Nevertheless, Locke had an unshakable faith in human reason. He believed that people do learn what is right and wrong, regardless of what they choose to do.Read more ›
So if you're like me, let me encourage you to get this book. Your friends will almost certainly call you a nerd (after all, who reads 17th century political philosophy for FUN?), and it'll take a few pages to cut your teeth on the language, but after you get going, this book is a breeze. I can't tell you the philisophical doctrines nor their framework in several distinct points, but I can tell you this: the language, to one of average education, was a little hard to wrap my brain around, but what worked for me was just to set a pace and trudge through it without getting hung up on the one sentence that twisted my mind into a pretzel. After a few pages (maybe 10 or 15) I found that my brain was correcting for the nature of the wording, and for the rest of the book, I swear, I understood what was going on through the second treatise and the Letter, too.
After I got going, I was all highlighters and folded corners, but it had too many profound and simple statements to save them all in my head. If you're even vaguely political, this book will make points as absolutely applicable to today's world politics as it did to those of the bygone time.Read more ›
Any student of American history, particularly of the revolution and the formation of the Constitution, out of necessity should read this book. It is a book that the revolutionaries themselves were well acquainted with, and formed the rational basis for justifying both the Revolution and the establishment of the Constitution.
Locke is, also, suprisingly easy to read, even today. Cogent, well-formed arguments inform every page of this masterwork. This is a fascinating book that shaped history itself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's one of the most inherited political books of modern times. He talks about monarchy.Published 20 hours ago by Telly Frias
it was in great shape and the content was thought provokingPublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
I don't know what book Christian Jaros (as several other one-star reviewers) thought he was reviewing. It certainly wasn't this one. For example:
1. Read more
Absolutely essential to any student of political philosophy, the constitution, human rights or natural law.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer