The Influence Of John Locke's Two Treatises On Government

1125 Words5 Pages
Every human society no matter how primitive or complex must have a power structure. Yet there can be many ways in, which power and authority are shared or sometimes not shared at all. Other the centuries there have been a variety of theories and systems to identify plus when possible implement the proper role of power and authority. There are instances of power and authority evolving over time as well as attempts to introduce ideal or utopian power structures. Concepts about the wielding and distribution of power have certainly altered over the centuries though not always in a progressive or democratic way. Plato in the seminal work The Republic stated that the ideal form of government should be a democratic republic in that cities or states should be…show more content…
That book was Two Treatises on Government by John Locke. This work was written to justify the overthrow of James II by Parliament to invite his son in law William of Orange to become king. Locke was arguing that monarchs should respect the rights of citizens and allow the wealthy to make money and run the country. Locke was a liberal, and liberalism was an ideal that spread throughout the 19th century, and would influence concepts on power sharing and authority within societies. Liberalism was linked to the Enlightenment movement, though that movement was linked to socialism and the general will as well. Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau spread liberal ideas yet in the latter 's case their works have been used to justify authoritarian rule. The two great liberal events of the 18th century were the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Yet though these revolutions were nominally democratic neither gave every citizen equal rights, excluding both slaves and women. The beginnings of feminism can be traced to the French Revolution yet by the time that Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One 's Own she was still lamenting the lack of
Open Document