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Study Guide 2

Course Code
Irving Zeitlin

of 7
L5 - Locke
Disputes divinity of monarchy
Defends right of peoples to revolt
Perfect human nature founded on the Golden Rule - preservation of peace & equality.
Authority vested in all to punish transgressors, proportional to crime committed. Those
who have been personally damaged have the unique right to seek reparation. He does
however concede that a civil government would be needed to ensure fair sentencing
The State of Nature is thus contrasted with royal absolutism, as all are accountable
to all
He tries to differentiate Nature and War, arguing that War is when there is no
common authority, but implicitly concedes that they may be one and the same, and that
this is why Nature has been discontinued, and humanity has developed modern society
complete with judicial authorities
Freedom in Nature is not freedom unhinged it is freedom under common laws
created by the government with the consent of all. Locke even states that one cannot
willingly place himself under the absolute or arbitrary power of another, as humans
lives are under Gods jurisdiction
Justification of private property, insofar as appropriation does not entail theft or
hoarding (Biblical)
Derides the connection between King and Father: (1) Neglects role of mother, (2)
Ignores temporary status of parents’ dominion, (3) Ignores accountability of parents to
Those under the authority of a Prince are in an even worse state than Nature, as
they have no right to defend themselves from the arbitrary and cruel decisions of the
Even if a leader is wise, forthright, and morally exemplary, assurances against
tyranny are needed. Legislative authority therefore must be separate from, and capable
of checking, Executive authority
The fact that primordial societies were mostly absolute monarchies is no defence of
the institution; that is actually to be expected from inexperienced societies, ignorant of
methods of checking power
Locke disputes the notion that individuals are born under government and thus have
no right to challenge it, citing the countless instances throughout history of people
rising against their current governments to either (A) replace them, or (B) break away
entirely to form new nations
Where Hobbes believed separation of powers would inevitably birth factionalism,
strife, and ultimately civil war, Locke supported separation, envisioning peaceful,
constructive conflict between the branches of government which would strengthen
democracy in aggregate
Like Aristotle, Locke believed Rule of Law was paramount, under any type of
government. The legislative authority, appointed by the people, is thus the supreme
power. Furthermore, law must be impartial and equally applicable to all regardless of
political or social status
Under a constitutional government, it is simply unthinkable that anyone should
possess absolute, arbitrary power. A leader who attempts such an exercise of power
invites violent insurrection. This should only be carried out, however, when the actions
of the leader injure - or lead to the impending injury of - the majority of citizens, so as
to prevent never-ending uprising
L6 - Montesquieu
Montesquieu believed he was successful in this reconciling empiricism and
The PERSIAN LETTERS enables French readers to question the idealization of
their own society
Parable of the Troglodytes: People should take responsibility for their own fate, and
make tough decisions based on their fundamental principles, rather than delegating
decision-making to a king
Imposition of laws from the outside cannot create a just and stable political society.
To Monte, virtue refers to this inner obligation on the part of citizensvirtue is
acquired through moral education and expresses itself in societys customs and mores,
and obedience to them
The Deistic Philosophes interpreted religions main use as aiding human happiness.
They were therefore diametrically opposed to church-sanctioned persecution
Rome was undermined by (1) shifting loyalty of soldiers, (2) the granting of
citizenship to those lacking the same internalized values as born Romans, (3) the
corrupting influence of wealth - disparagement of manual labour and trade and
delegation of work to slaves; (4) Hedonistic Epicureanism, damaging military discipline.
Pomp came to overcome Frugality
Monte here outlines natural laws, referring to scientifically necessary relations
that influence all interactions. He posits that intellectual laws are fundamentally
different from natural ones, however, as they are much more easily violable. Destructive
passions necessitate civil laws
Monte attacks Hobbes conception of Nature: pre-social humans would be more
predisposed to flight than fight. It is actually through the creation of society that
humans feel empowered and War begins. It is also here that War begins internationally,
as competing societies come to fight each other. These two States of War lead to
enactment of three types of laws: (1) National laws, governing relations between
societies; (2) Political laws, governing relations between governors and governed; (3)
Civil Laws, governing citizens relations
Monte outlines three types of governments: Republic - people are sovereign,
Monarchy - An individual is sovereign but subject to law, Despot - An individual is
sovereign and untouchable. Monarchy is most befitting the medium-large nations of
Europe, Republicanism is bet suited to small cohesive towns, while Despotism is
typically found in massive, populous Asian states
Monte envisions the stratification under monarchies as bringing about maximal
equality, as the different classes supposedly check each other in addition to the
monarch, leaving each to pursue their own interests in moderation
The laws appropriate to any particular society can be perceived by all, through
reason; it is simply due to errors of human judgment, that societies may create laws
which are not befitting them
Liberty is the right to do all that the laws permit, not all that one wants to do
Monte, while a cultural relativist (^Persian Letters^) as far as morally-neutral
practices went, was not a moral relativist as he believed in certain immutable moral
laws. Liberty naturally > Subjection
Like Locke, Monte fervently supported separation of powers, stating that liberty can
only exist when legislative, executive, and judicial authorities are distinct from each
other. However, he does afford legal inviolability to the executive (monarch), opposing
impeachment, trial
Following the collapse of the tyrannical Roman Kingdom, the people sought to
change the distribution of power in Rome: (1) they enshrined the right for plebeians to
be elected to magistracies, (2) they drastically reduced the scope of the Consuls powers,
(3) they created the office of Tribune to check senatorial power, and (4) they expanded
their general influence in public matters via the above changes
To protect citizens from being silenced for political or religious reasons alone, Monte
advocated freedom of speech, only supporting conviction when speech is directly tied to
harmful action
Montesquieu was something of a climatic determinist
He was opposed to Catholicism for the same reasons as Locke, thought he admired
Christian morals. He did invite the ire of the Church, however, by classifying religion in
general (including non-Christian ones) as a crucial element of social order. He argued