The Second Treatise Of Government By Locke

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One of Locke’s most influential writings was his “Second Treatise of Government”. In this essay, Locke discusses his ideal version of government, in which a “social contract” is exchanged between the subjects and the government in power. In discussing this social contract, Locke provides a distinction between express consent and tacit consent. In our discussion today, much of our time will be spent discussing tacit consent. For our purposes, we will define tacit consent as a nonverbal, implied, voluntary act of permission or agreement. In Locke’s “Second Treatise of Government”, he asserts that all individuals are equal and independent, so thus no one is superior over another. In governments though, there is a fundamental hierarchical nature in which there are leaders, who are superior, than say, the subjects. In order to fix this problem, Locke introduces the concept of Tacit Consent. Locke sums up tacit consent by saying “And to this I say, that every man, that hath any possessions, or enjoyment, of any part of the dominions of any government, cloth thereby give his tacit consent, and is as far forth obliged to obedience to the laws of that government, during such enjoyment, as any one under it; ” Basically, if an individual is benefitting from resources given to them by the government, then they have tacitly consented to also accept the burdens of that government and follow the laws set forth by that government. So, have we as a nation, provided tacit consent to the US

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