Summary of Chapter XVI of Conquest of Locke's Book Second Treatise of Government
Locke starts off by stating that an unjust conqueror never has the right to rule the conquered. Unjust conquest is always unjust in Locke's model, whether by petty thief or a despot. Locke then moves on to make provisions for the cases in which there is a lawful conquest (which he does not yet define). In lawful conquest, "The conqueror gets no power by his conquest over those that conquered with him." In other words, those that help the conqueror conquer cannot suffer from having given their aid; rather, they should benefit from it.
John Locke (1632–1704) is among the most influential political philosophers of the modern period. In the Two Treatises of Government, he defended the claim that men are by nature free and equal against claims that God had made all people naturally subject to a monarch. He argued that people have rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, that have a foundation independent of the laws of any particular society. Locke used the claim that men are naturally free and equal as part of the justification for understanding legitimate political government as the result of a social contract where people in the state of nature conditionally transfer some of their rights to the government in order to better ensure the stable, comfortable enjoyment of their lives, liberty, and property. Since governments exist by the consent of the people in order to protect the rights of the people and promote the public good, governments that fail to do so can be resisted and replaced with new governments. Locke is thus also important for his defense of the right of revolution. Locke also defends the principle of majority rule and the separation of legislative and executive powers. In the Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke denied that coercion should be used to bring people to (what the ruler believes is) the true religion and also denied that churches should have any coercive power over their members. Locke elaborated on these themes in his later political writings, such as the Second Letter on Toleration and Third Letter on Toleration. Perhaps the most central concept in Locke’s political philosophy is his theory of natural law and natural rights. The natural law concept existed long before Locke as a way of expressing the idea that there were certain moral truths that applied to all people, regardless of the particular place where they lived or the agreements they had made. The most important early contrast was between laws that were by nature, and thus generally applicable, and those that were conventional and operated only in those places where the particular convention had been established. This distinction is sometimes formulated as the difference between natural law and positive law.
He admitted that government should protect private property in order to save the public good. God divided everything in equal forms among people, this is why he “hath also given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life, and convenience. The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being” (Locke, 18). However, there was one more point that could not but be mention while discussing Locke’s ides. He underlines the fact that human body and its movement are the property of a person, this is why all those efforts, which a person uses to make his/her life better and safer, and the results of this work belong to this person only. Such attention to human rights and their equal possibilities create numerous changes within the sphere of politics and economics. People should have enough grounds to believe that they have enough powers to live in this world and that “industrious and rational” will never be changed into “the covetousness of the quarrelsome and the contentious” (Locke, 21).This is why development is crucially important for both poor and rich people. Is it always good? Telling the truth, it is impossible to say that our development has positive outcomes only, this is why it is necessary to remember about the consequences before take some steps, which lead to development. John Locke was a powerful thinker and philosopher at the end of the 17th century. His ideas as for property development and the rights, which are inherent to any person cannot but attract the attention of many people. His beliefs that everything is divided by God, and nothing can be changed cause admiration of some people and lead to numerous misunderstandings from the others. If we take into consideration his ideas and use them to analyze the situation of modern South Florida, we will see that expressive real estate cannot be neglected. If people have possibilities, desire, and money, they get more and more property of different sizes. Locke could not agree with such unfairness, however, he lived during the 16th century, and we live and grow in the 21st century and should be ready to new changes and development. I do not want to underline that Locke’s ideas have nothing in common with our modern world, but still, his ideas were developed when money did not play a significant role in people’s life; and nowadays, money is considered to be a significant factor for human and property development.
As shown above, Locke returns to political society in Chapter VIII of the second treatise. In the community created by the social contract, the will of the majority should prevail, subject to the law of nature. The legislative body is central, but it cannot create laws that violate the law of nature, because the enforcement of the natural law regarding life, liberty, and property is the rationale of the whole system. Laws must apply equitably to all citizens and not favour particular sectional interests, and there should be a division of legislative, executive, and judicial powers. The legislature may, with the agreement of the majority, impose such taxes as are required to fulfill the ends of the state—including, of course, its defense. If the executive power fails to provide the conditions under which the people can enjoy their rights under natural law, then the people are entitled to remove him, by force if necessary. Thus, revolution, in extremis, is permissible—as Locke obviously thought it was in 1688.
Locke, John. Second Treatise Government. Hackett Publishing, 1980.