POLC71H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Amour-Propre, Democratic Republic, Classical Republicanism
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POLB71 Final exam review 2
The Exclusion Crisis gave John Locke much to think about. The First Treatise tears
asunder the arguments for both the divine right of kings and the rule of the patriarchy.
The divine right of kings was defiantly an issue in this crisis, as Charles II was openly
opposing parliament, the representatives of the people. If one accepts Locke's argument
against divine right one can read most of the Second Treatise as a rebuke on the way in
which the English government was operating at that time. Locke clearly is not a supporter
of divine monarchy, and had concerns about the Royal Prerogative which was exercised
at the time. He understands the necessity of that prerogative, stating that:
" The power of calling parliaments in England, as to precise time, place, and duration, is
certainly a prerogative of the king, but still with this trust, that it shall be made use of for
the good of the nation, as the exigencies of the times, and variety of occasions, shall
require: for it being impossible to foresee which should always be the fittest place for
them to assemble in, and what the best season; the choice of these was left with the
executive power, as might be most subservient to the public good, and best suit the ends
Locke however does not allow for the ruler exercising such prerogative to do so in selfish
self interest, claiming that no one can have nor should have the authority to put
themselves and their interests over the the interest of those who have consented to be
governed. This was the primary issue at stake during the exclusion crisis. The
government was not at all acting in the best interest of its people; Charles II was ignoring
the whim of the people via parliament, abusing his prerogative to amass and dismiss the
parliament, and acting not to further the English state but simply to firmly cement himself
and his family as the legitimate trustees of the English throne. Locke sees the necessity of
prerogative in order for leaders to quickly respond to the issue of the day by strongly
supports it being largely curtailed, stating that
"Nor let any one think, this lays a perpetual foundation for disorder; for this operates not,
till the inconveniency is so great, that the majority feel it, and are weary of it, and find a
necessity to have it amended. But this the executive power, or wise princes, never need
come in the danger of: and it is the thing, of all others, they have most need to avoid, as
of all others the most perilous."(3)
Locke is clearly more concerned with the people being fairly represented over issues
being dealt with expediently, and notes that if something is a big enough inconvenience
to a majority of the people it will inevitably be addressed and fixed. This crisis, while
largely political, set the stage not only for the Glorious Revolution that was only a few
years off at this point, but also provided an excellent example for Locke to use to expose
the weaknesses and inherent injustice of the divine monarchy as it existed at the time.
What is the main idea of Sir Filmer‟s Patriarcha?
One major goal of Patriarcha was to harness widespread early modern social theory - in
particular, the idea that fathers are by nature the governors of their families, and that their
powers do not arise from the consent of their children or wives - to the cause of royal
absolutism. Another objective of the book was to show that theories which based
government on consent or contract were unjustified by the evidence - there was no
historical record of governments beginning with contracts - and that they were
unworkable (for instance, if government rests on the people's consent, then we should
have consult the people afresh every time someone is born or dies, as the people changes
when such things happen). Filmer also claimed that history shows that the worst atrocities
happen under democracies rather than monarchies. The third chapter of the book ends
with a discussion of English legal and constitutional history, intended to show that the
king was an absolute monarch from early times; concentrate on the main points rather
than the details of this.
There is a tendency to link theories like Filmer's - which defended royal absolutism and
took an authoritarian view of the family - with conservative and illiberal thought more
generally. But in important respects this is unjustified. In an age when many people
believed in witchcraft, and thought that witches should be killed, Filmer expressed doubts
on the subject in An Advertisement to the Jury-men of England touching Witches (1653).
Many clergymen in Filmer's time claimed that it was sinful to lend money at interest.
Filmer argued against this idea in another book published in 1653.
Why does Locke think individuals would choose to leave the state of nature and form a
Locke reiterates why people would give up their natural freedom to enter into society--
namely, to assure the protection of their lives, liberties, and estates, all of which Locke
Nature lacks three very important things, all of which a just civil society provides: "an
established, settled, known law"; "a known and indifferent judge"; and the "power to
back and support the sentence" In order to gain the three things above, people must
relinquish their natural rights. These include the right to do as they wish within the
bounds of the law of nature; the power to punish the crimes committed against natural
law. The first right is partially given up by submitting oneself to the laws of civil society,
which are stricter than those of nature. The second right is given up totally in favor of
putting oneself under the protection of the executive power of the society. Locke finishes
by noting that this system is contingent on the three characteristics of civil society
mentioned above--a law, a judge, and an executive working "to no other end, but the
peace, safety, and public good of the people."
“But though this(e.g the state of nature) be a state of liberty, yet it is a not a state of
The law of nature implies that the state of nature is not a state of license, but rather is
characterized by duties and obligations to which all individuals are subject: 'But though
this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence' (Locke II, para. 6). Man has the
right, in the state of nature, to punish those who transgress his natural rights:
“The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are property his… Thus
the grass my horse has bit; the turfs my servant has cut; and the ore I have digged in any
place, where I have a right to them in common with others, become my property, without
the assignation or consent of any body.”
Locke Chapter 5 Of Property. Sec 27
The above is textbook libertarian justification of private property: things other than
oneself--the "commons"--can be made part of oneself politically, so that one can have the
same rights in the disposition of resources & products as one has in the disposition of
oneself. Locke argues that this ability is essential in order to exist--to eat is to treat nature
as private property--and for the full exercise of liberty to which life entitles one. So
private property, like liberty, is natural and not ethically dependent on any person's or
group's permission. However, property differs from oneself in that something must first
be taken from common nature before it can be private property, whereas an individual
comes into nature as his or her own private property. We "own" ourselves inherently;
people, unlike the world, are not "given to all mankind in common." The difference in
inherent privacy between individuals and the rest of nature leads Locke to limit the right
Amour propre vs. amour de soi
Amour propre - Essentially, the opposite of self-preservation (amour de soi). Amour
propre is an acute awareness of, and regard for, oneself in relation to others. Whilst the
savage person cares only for his survival, civilized man also cares deeply about what
others think about him. This is a deeply harmful psychological deformation, linked to the
development of human reason and political societies. At its root is a difference between
being and appearing. Savage man can only "be", and has no concept of pretence: civil
man is forced to compare himself to others, and to lie to himself. Rousseau traces the
development of amour propre back to the first village festivals, in which competition to
dance and sing well increases the villagers' awareness of each other's talents and abilities.
Amour propre is best expressed in a society in which wealth dominates; there, all are
compared on an insubstantial and harmful basis.
Rousseau distinguishes between 'amour de soi' - which we would usually translate as
'self-respect'; and 'amour propre' - nearer to being 'selfishness' or 'arrogance'.
Amour de soi tells you that you are valuable, and so are other people. It encourages you
to take care of yourself, but not at the expense of doing harm to others. Amour de soi tells
you that you are as good as other people.
Amour propre is selfishness. It tells you that you are more important than other people (in
most cases it tells you that what other people need or desire doesn't matter at all). Amour
propre tells you that you are the most important person in the world, and that nobody else
will ever matter as much as you do.
The exclusion crisis gave john locke much to think about. The first treatise tears asunder the arguments for both the divine right of kings and the rule of the patriarchy. The divine right of kings was defiantly an issue in this crisis, as charles ii was openly opposing parliament, the representatives of the people. If one accepts locke"s argument against divine right one can read most of the second treatise as a rebuke on the way in which the english government was operating at that time. Locke clearly is not a supporter of divine monarchy, and had concerns about the royal prerogative which was exercised at the time. He understands the necessity of that prerogative, stating that: This was the primary issue at stake during the exclusion crisis. Locke sees the necessity of prerogative in order for leaders to quickly respond to the issue of the day by strongly supports it being largely curtailed, stating that.