Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government established the author as the intellectual father of the modern constitutional state. The political theories set forth are the foundation for later political philosophers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose Du contrat social: Ou, Principes du droit politique (1762; The Social Contract,1764) influenced the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. Before Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he read and absorbed Locke’s Two Treatises of Government.
Locke lived during a time of tremendous political upheaval in England, including the Civil War (1642-1646), the beheading of King Charles I (1649), the interregnum (1649-1660), the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy (1660), and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. These events gave Locke the motivation to advocate the political changes that influenced his and future generations.
In his first treatise, Locke refutes the arguments of Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha: Or, The Natural Power of Kings (1680), which defends the established order in England. Locke’s second treatise, the statement of his own political philosophy, rejects many statements in Leviathan (1651) by Thomas Hobbes, which advocates absolute power in the person of the king. The connection between Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and the Glorious Revolution is also clear. Manuscripts of his work...
(The entire section is 1763 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Two Treatises of Government Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!