Comparison between Two Political Thinkers and and their Understanding of Private Property

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Political theories have been collected throughout history, and often shine light and cause debate surrounding the positions of common socio-political themes and topics. When studying political theory, it is important to recognize the philosopher behind the written work, and comprehend why they reflect the political beliefs that they do. This paper will compare and contrast two of the most noted and influential political thinkers and their understanding of private property. The first theory is found within the work of English philosopher John Locke.

Locke strongly supported the concept of private property, and believed that the only reason society falls upon armed conflict and warfare is because of a general lack of the essential
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Whatsoever then he removed out of the state of nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property” (Locke, 19). For Locke, labor’s most valuable function is that it does more than simply define a division between what is considered private and what is considered public. He feels it is labor that creates value and turns something that was fundamentally worthless at one time into something of worth. For example, Locke presents the opinion that land without labor put into it is “scarcely worth anything.” Locke viewed the world as a place of opportunity that had been given to us for our persona benefit, but more importantly viewed private property as a fundamental practice to shape a structured political society.

Government and rule, Locke believed, is a trust taken by an individual. The purpose of that trust is to secure the protection of that individual’s person and property, and, perhaps most importantly, that individual has the right to withdraw his or her support in the ruling government when the government fails in it’s task and does not keep the good of the people in mind. In a state of nature there is no way for each individual to ensure that his or her property would remain safe from anyone else. In Locke’s theory, he did not believe a democracy was the only valid system of government, and had no problem with a
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