The Second Treatise of Civil Government

The Second Treatise of Civil Government

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In this, the second of his Two Treatises of Government, John Locke examines humankind's transition from its original state of nature to a civil society. According to Locke, legitimate government arises to enforce the natural law and the property rights of individuals; when a government fails to do this, or attempts to exert powers beyond those granted by the people, revolution is justified. One can see the lasting influence of Locke's ideas through their familiarity to the modern reader - the roots of classical liberalism are here, and the arguments presented in this text have relevance to any modern student of political theory. The introduction and annotations included in this edition are intended to contextualize the work and prevent misunderstanding, without advancing any particular scholarly interpretation or merely summarizing Locke's arguments. This edition has its origin in the acclaimed Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought and adheres to the anthology's format and high standards of accuracy and accessibility.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 170 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 10.16mm | 176.9g
  • Peterborough, Canada
  • English
  • 1554811562
  • 9781554811564
  • 1,148,364

Back cover copy

In this, the second of his Two Treatises of Government, John Locke examines humankind's transition from its original state of nature to a civil society. One can see the lasting influence of Locke's ideas through their familiarity to the modern reader--the roots of classical liberalism are here, and many of Locke's arguments foreshadow contemporary debates concerning government, liberty, and property rights. The introduction and annotations included in this edition are intended to contextualize the work and prevent misunderstanding, without advancing any particular scholarly interpretation or merely summarizing Locke's reasoning. This edition has its origin in the acclaimed Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought and adheres to the anthology's format and high standards of accuracy and accessibility.



The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought is edited by Andrew Bailey (University of Guelph), Samantha Brennan (University of Western Ontario), Will Kymlicka (Queen's University), Jacob Levy (McGill University), Alex Sager (Portland State University), and Clark Wolf (Iowa State University).
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Review quote

"An excellent edition of Locke's classic text of political theory. The engaging and accessible introduction draws readers into Locke's life and work in politics and philosophy, as well as a number of the most important debates that his thought continues to spark. The annotated text offers a great aid to students learning to navigate an older language of politics." -- Torrey Shanks, University at Albany, SUNY

"Locke's Second Treatise is among the most influential texts in the history of political thought, and essential reading for students of politics. This edition has an accessibly written introduction that sets the context for the work, brings out its historical importance, and directs students to the most salient concepts and issues to be found in it. It also provides thoughtful questions that will usefully guide classroom discussion." -- Richard Vernon, University of Western Ontario

"With the passage of time, Locke's Second Treatise has become increasingly difficult for students to understand. The distinctive contribution of this edition, both in the introduction and the notes, is to go further in providing students with the tools to really engage with and understand the primary text." -- Alex Tuckness, Iowa State University
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About John Locke

John Locke (1632-1704) was one of the most important British philosophers of the modern era, and made valuable contributions to political philosophy, epistemology, and metaphysics.

The Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought is edited by Andrew Bailey (University of Guelph, Canada), Samantha Brennan (University of Western Ontario, Canada), Will Kymlicka (Queen's University, Canada), Jacob Levy (McGill University, Canada), Alex Sager (Portland State University, USA), and Clark Wolf (Iowa State University, USA).
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Rating details

18,224 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 29% (5,234)
4 33% (6,080)
3 27% (4,969)
2 8% (1,378)
1 3% (563)
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