Property and Slavery.doc

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Political Science
POL 1201
Elizabeth Beaumont

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
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