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What is John Locke's definition of Civil Government?

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rjordan10 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 5, 2009 at 5:52 AM via web

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What is John Locke's definition of Civil Government?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 5, 2009 at 5:58 AM (Answer #1)

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To Locke, civil government was/is the result of the people entering into a "social contract."  Locke believes that all people have the right to life, liberty, and property but that without government, they are unable to protect those rights unless they are strong enough to do so.

Because this "state of nature" would not be very pleasant, people choose to enter into a social contract.  Essentially, they form a civil government and make a deal with that government.  The government will protect their life, liberty, and property and they, the people, will obey the government.

To Locke, the people may withdraw their consent if the government is not doing a good job of protecting their rights.

Locke's ideas are repeated quite faithfully in the US Declaration of Independence.

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parama9000 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted February 27, 2014 at 8:14 AM (Answer #2)

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The concept of "social contract", where if the people follows the government, the government will guarantee their basic rights.

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