“Though the earth, and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that 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”. “From all which it is evident, that though the things of Nature are given in common, man (by being master of himself, and proprietor of his own person, and the actions or labour of it) has still in himself the great foundation of property;...” (Locke, 1978
First and foremost, it is important to discuss Locke’s central theme of life, liberty, and the pursuit of property and how it influenced the Declaration of Independence. The document starts out discussing the state of nature and the natural law. In the hypothetical state of nature, all humans are created equal, are rational beings, and have the freedom to act however they want without the interference of others. The Declaration of Independence starts out by mentioning this natural state. The state of war is enacted with the introduction of private property. Originally, everything found on the earth belongs to everyone. The natural law was anyone had the freedom to use the earth in any way they may need. However, the natural law also states that every being has a right to their body, and its actions. Their actions would be described as the labor they put into the land owned by everyone, as a result the land produced and made better
He seems to describe the right to ownership as something that can be earned by making improvements or purposing using hard work. Locke also places stipulations upon ownership such as not taking more than one needs or wasting. One of those examples were homestead. Locke thought by improving the quality of land, over time, the land became the property of the person who invested the labor. With the parameters, it would mean man can only take enough land to provide the harvest for himself and his family, who will work the land. A larger plot that wouldn’t be worked regularly or that would produce too much food would be wrong. Locke finds labor, or work, the value that man possesses. Anything that man put forth labor into, then in turn, belonged to that man.
If all human beings are to use the earth to their ‘best advantage' and the earth is the common property of all, someone somewhere will have conflicting interests with another human being over the possession of some thing. The only remedy is to sacrifice his/her equality by consent (It is not likely that one would surrender equality to another) OR to enter a ‘state of war.' The only protection against the state of war in John Locke's opinion is to enter into civil society governed by a common authority. By taking this measure, Locke insists humankind can better protect itself against war and preserve the right to enjoy what one possesses, ". . . because no political society can be, nor subsist, without having in itself the power to preserve the property" [pg. 18].
John Locke was one of the most revolutionary political thinkers of the seventeenth century, and possibly of all time. His ideas regarding natural rights had major effects on almost every western society, most notably the United States. Locke’s ideas were crucial in the crafting of the United States Constitution and more importantly, the creation of American culture, both social, governmental, and economic. Locke was the inspiration for the three branch government system in America along with the representative democracy and the government acting as a third party to protect the rights of the people and to settle disputes. Economically, America is a highly commercial society with little government interference with business and personal income other than taxes levied by the government. American society almost mirrors Locke’s idea of a commercial society with individuals spending their time working to make money in a capitalist society and then spending said money and doing whatever they please when they are not working. Locke’s influence on the United States is so substantial that he could arguably be named as one of the founding fathers. Though Locke’s philosophy has been important to American society for years, and his ideas are still used in contemporary politics, it is necessary to examine modern America and decide if Lockean philosophy is appropriate for the America of today.
We must first determine what is being said in the constitution when they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Analyzing this we can see that Locke was stating that everyone is equal, and is born with certain "inalienable" natural rights. These rights are given to us by God and can never be taken or even given away by any force,
John Locke’s main idea was that the government should only be there to protect and provide for the people. He thought that society would be better if the government wasn’t so persistent in the lives of citizens. He also believed that people should deserve natural rights. It was his belief that people were born with these rights and that these rights should never be violated by anyone, including the government. He stated “[men are in] a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature…” (Doc. A). In other words, this quote shows that Locke believes that humans have natural rights and that people should be free to use them however they please. Therefore, he believed that no one, especially the government, should have power over peoples’ natural
In Locke’s second treatise of government, John Locke described that to understand the rights of individuals and role of government, one must starts with a consideration of men in a state of nature. In a state of nature where everyone is equal and free, everyone could do anything as long as they followed the law of nature. In the law of nature everyone had a right to self-preservation, and it is against the law of nature to impose that right. Due to the fact that there is no such thing as private property in nature or the bible, John Locke uses the right to self-preservation to justify the existence of private property. It is clear to lock that individuals came before society in the state of nature, therefore individuals are more important than any social order.
In his writings, he proclaimed his opinion of mans natural right. He believed every man had the right to life, liberty, and property. That the government should put its efforts into protecting these God given rights, for the power the government holds is given to it by the people. Locke states, “But though men, when they enter into society give up the equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of Nature into the hands of society. . . ” He is explaining the sacrifices people make by moving into an organized society. He states that by giving up these things, protection is placed upon the persons property, because governments make laws to protect each citizens rights. However, in some cases, when the general public believe fit, the people can remove their legislative power. They then can replace it with someone who respects the power given to them, and follows the peoples wishes instead of their own
Locke believed that all men are born with natural rights and they are the right to life, liberty, and property Locke said "Life refers to the fact that people want to live and will fight to survive. Liberty means that people want to be as free as possible. Property represents the fact that people want to own things that help them survive, such as land, food, and tools." Locke claims that these rights aren't given to people and that people are born with them.
In his Second Treatise on Government Locke focus’ on liberalism & capitalism, defending the claim that men are by nature free and equal against the idea that God had made all people subject to a king. He argued that people have ‘natural rights’, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, that hold the foundation for the major laws of a society. He says, “…we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit.” (2nd Treatise, Chapter 2, sec 4). John Locke used this claim, that all men were naturally free and equal, for understanding the idea of a government as a result of a social contract. This is where people in the state of nature transfer some of their rights to the government in order to better guarantee the steady and comfortable enjoyment of their lives, liberty, and property.
&#9;One of Locke’s central themes is the distribution of property. In a state of natural abundance &quot;all the fruits it naturally produces, and beasts it feeds, belong to mankind in common&quot; (page 18). In this situation the only thing man naturally owns is &quot;his own person. This no body has any right to but himself&quot; (page 18). Therefore, man is in a way equal, however it is an imperfect equality. &quot;Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that 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&quot; (page 18). Therefore, everything belongs to mankind in general, until a man decides to take it upon himself to acquire something from its pure state in nature, and since he has to work to achieve this, the fruits of the labor are his.
Locke’s thought on having a king, laws, and a civil society under a social contract was so all men can enjoy and protect their rights. Where all men obtain the right to life, all humans have the right to live and life shouldn't be taken away from another human being. The right to liberty, protecting an individual's freedom and unreasonable detention. The right to property, a citizen in which Locke thought a human's labour was his own, anything created or made should remain that individuals as well and the right to rebel against unjust rulers and laws.
This is due to the fact that man is formed by God, thus man is sacred. Anyone who transgresses this law must be judged and punished by all other men as every man has this right. This punishment must be suitable to the transgression. Though Locke also states that any transgression may be punishable by death, even minor infringements. Furthermore, Locke’s view of the state of nature revolves around property. Not only are men equal in terms of strength and authority, but also have equal access to everything on this Earth. This is because Locke views that God has given the Earth to man in order to preserve himself. Thus man puts labour into the land. Through labour, man may own the property as long as it satisfies his needs, does not go to waste and there is enough for all. Consent is not necessary either – Locke believes this would hinder some people, leading them to die of starvation. Locke also points out that not everyone may follow the law of nature, thus in this state of nature, man is still unable to fully enjoy the bounty God has give to them. The Lockean view of the state of nature appears to be more persuasive than the other two theorist discussed as it does not fall into the trap of over simplifying human beings. It also gives into account those who may break the natural law -
Unlike Hobbes, Locke had a different approach concerning the state of nature. According to Locke, the law of nature forbids people from doing harm to others. This law protects the life, health and liberty of other people. He defines the law of nature as one that governs the state of nature. In addition, Locke introduces a supreme being concerning laws of nature and rights of nature. Locke writes, “Nothing was made by God for man to spoil or destroy” (Locke, 35). Therefore, humans have no right to deny anther persons chance to live; it is solely up to God because it was through God’s orders that people were sent to the world. Also, God gave everyone a conscious that will help him or her deem moral truths, and the conscious will help people not harm others. In addition, the natural rights entitle an individual the right to one’s own property and body (Locke, 47). Being that, a government is therefore needed to enforce the natural rights, which both Locke and Hobbes agree upon.