Explain John Locke's consent to be governed.

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jtutino eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his "Two Treatises on Government," John Locke described how governments came into existence.  John Locke believed that people are born with unlimited freedom to do what they would like to preserve their life, liberty and property.  Without a government to protect people from each other, it would be nearly impossible for people to live out their natural life, because each person could freely use violence to protect their rights.  John Locke explains that government exists as a contract between citizens living in a society together.  Each person gives up a bit of their freedom (the freedom to hurt one another and to steal their property) to the government, and in exchange for that power, the government provided the citizens with protection from one another and from those living outside of the society.  Consent of the governed is the citizens giving up their power to the government by promising to follow the government's laws.

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