Property and Slavery
Types of Property
• Narrow: property = physical property in land/possessions/wealth
• Broad: property = moral property in ourselves and our natural human liberty or
undertakings, which go beyond physical possessions: "his property, that is, his life,
liberty, and estate"
The central role of property rights in Locke's theory of legitimate political order
• Property rights must be protected by governments
• Governments that fail to protect property rights are not legitimate because:
1. Property rights originate in nature, through human self-ownership and human
labor: a communal grant from God that we turn into individual property by mixing
our labor with things (apples gathered from trees, tilling fields, etc)
2. The main reason for leaving the state of nature and form in geopolitical society
is to better protect basic rights, including property
Locke's version of the "Protestant work ethic"
God gave the world to men in common; but since he gave it to them for their benefit, and
the greatest conveniences of life they were capable to draw from it, it cannot be supposed
he meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the sue of the
industrious and rational (and labor was to be his title to it) . . .
Thus Locke suggest:
1. Everything in the world should be put to human use and owned by humans as private
property, with "title" achieved through labor
2. This is acceptable, in part, because he thinks in a state of nature there are plenty of
natural resources to go around or "good and enough for all