Poly Sci 6C Midterm Study Guide
I. Locke – Second Treatise of Government
a. State of Nature
i. People are free to life from outside rule
ii. Natural law of morality governs behavior; each person can punish the
person that infringes on their rights
iii. People take what they need, and take just enough of what they need. If
they put in effort to get something, it becomes their property as long as it
doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights
iv. People exchange some of their rights to enter into a society with other
people in which they are protected by common laws. An executive power
enforces the law
v. The state has a judicial, legislative, and executive branch. The legislative
branch is the most important because it determines the laws of the civil
vi. The people of the state have the right to dissolve the government if it
stops working solely in the peoples’ best interest. The government exists
only to serve the best interest of the people.
vii. The state of nature is a state of equality in which no one has power over
another. This liberty to do whatever one wants does not mean that one
can abuse another. Natural law exists even in the state of nature Each
individual in the state of nature can execute the universal natural laws
viii. All people are in a state of nature until a special agreement makes them
members of political society
b. Of State of War
i. Law of self preservation says any person can kill another in self-defense,
because aggression on another person means they are challenging
ii. State of nature and state of war are incredibly different. State of nature
means everyone living as equals, state of war means people are trying to
force something on other people.
iii. Lack of common judge or authority = state of nature
iv. Force without right = state of war
c. Of Slavery
i. Natural liberty = person’s right to be ruled solely by the laws of nature
ii. Social liberty = right to be under no legislative power other than that
founded by the consent of the commonwealth
iii. State of slavery is an extension of state of war
d. Of Property
i. When an individual adds their own labor to a foreign object or good, that
object becomes their own because they have added their labor.
ii. A person can only take as much as he or she genuinely needs and can use
to his or her advantage
e. Of Paternal Power i. All people are born with an equal right to freedom, but they are born
without reason, which is the tool that people use to survive in the state
of nature and society.
ii. Parental power extends until child is grown old enough to function in
iii. Reason leads to personal freedom
iv. Political power and paternal power are completely different. Parental
power ends when a child is old enough (21), political power is built on
f. Of Political or Civil Society
i. Conjugal society – first society between man and woman. This is separate
from political society, and the master and mistress have power over
everyone in the household. Power is not absolute, because they lack the
power of life and death, or political.
ii. Civil society – united body of individuals under the power of an executive
that protects their property and well-being, and designs legislation to
govern their behavior
iii. Absolute monarchy places no common authority over all
g. Beginning of Political Societies
i. In civil society, the governing factor must be the majority, and by
entering this society, one enters themselves into the majority.
h. Ends of Political Society and Government
i. State of nature lacks three things – law, judge, and executive office. To
enter into a political society and gain these three things, one must give
up natural rights
i. Forms of a Commonwealth
i. Upon entering a commonwealth, one must choose their form of
government. They can choose democracy, oligarchy, monarchy,
j. The extent of the legislative power
i. Most important part of the government
ii. The first rule of the legislative power is the preservation of society. No
one can challenge the power of the legislature or pass laws of their own.
Such power is invested in this body by the majority.
iii. The legislation must govern by fixed laws that apply equally to everyone.
The government must work solely for the good of the people
k. Legislative, Executive, and Federative Power of the Commonwealth
i. Legislature only needs to be active and “in session” at certain times and
not perpetual, as this can lead to an abuse of power
ii. Executive must always be active because the laws that the legislature
passes must always be enforced.
iii. A state is in a state of nature with respect to other states – international
relations are governed by natural law iv. The federative power is the natural power in charge of the state’s
international relations. It is often joined with the executive power, which
manages the society within
l. The subordination of the powers of the commonwealth
i. The people are still supreme over all and have the power to remove or
alter the legislation. The community and the majority are the true
ii. Within the government, the legislature is supreme. Even in a monarchy,
the person only has supreme execution, not supreme control of the
i. The executive may exercise prerogative (god judgment) in instances in
which situations have to be dealt with before the legislative can be
assembled to provide laws.
ii. The executive can take actions that are outside the framework of the
laws if they work in society’s best interest
iii. Prerogative – nothing but the power of doing good without rule
iv. Prerogative is a trust placed by the people in the executive, which the
executive can use as long as it is used fairly.
n. Paternal, Political, and Despotical Power
i. Paternal – power that parents have over children until they reach the age
ii. Political – power that each individual in society consents to submit to