Two Treatises of Government

by John Locke


Two Treatises of Government is a work of political philosophy published anonymously in 1689 by John Locke. The First Treatise attacks patriarchalism in the form of sentence-by-sentence refutation of Robert Filmer's Patriarcha, while the Second Treatise outlines Locke's ideas for a more civilized society based on natural rights and contract theory. The book is a key foundational text in the theory of Liberalism. 
This publication contrasts former political works by Locke himself. In Two Tracts on Government, written in 1660, Locke defends a very conservative position; however, Locke never published it. In 1669, Locke co-authored the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, which endorses aristocracy, slavery and serfdom. Some dispute the extent to which the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina portray Locke's own philosophy, vs. that of the Lord proprietors of the colony; the document was a legal document written for and signed and sealed by the eight Lord proprietors to whom Charles II had granted the colony. In this context, Locke was only a paid secretary, writing it much as a lawyer writes a will.
Excerpted from Two Treatises of Government on Wikipedia.

person AuthorJohn Locke
language CountryEngland
api GenrePoliticsPhilosophy
copyright CopyrightPublic domain worldwide.
camera_alt Book cover-
book_online Ebooks-
description Scans-
headphones AudioLibrivox | Internet Archive
auto_stories Read onlineTWO TREATISES OF GOVERNMENT
1. First Treatise of Government
--Read by Philippa--
The First Treatise is an extended attack on Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha. Locke's argument proceeds along two lines: first, he undercuts the Scriptural support that Filmer had offered for his thesis, and second he argues that the acceptance of Filmer's thesis can lead only to slavery (and absurdity). Locke chose Filmer as his target, he says, because of his reputation and because he "carried this Argument farthest, and is supposed to have brought it to perfection"...


2. Second Treatise of Government
--Reader: Collaborative--
In the Second Treatise Locke develops a number of notable themes. It begins with a depiction of the state of nature, wherein individuals are under no obligation to obey one another but are each themselves judge of what the law of nature requires. It also covers conquest and slavery, property, representative government, and the right of revolution.