In reference to John Locke's "Second Treatise on Civil Government," what would a John Locke government look like in the modern day?

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John Locke's idea of a favorable government in modern times would look like a democracy. In fact, Locke is commonly referred to as "The Reluctant Democrat."

One of the major tenets of Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government is the state of nature, which Locke defined as "a state of perfect freedom of acting and disposing of their own possessions and persons as they think fit within the bounds of the law of nature." Locke believed that equality played a major role in this balance, meaning that no one would inherently hold more power than anyone else. This automatically rules out the existence of monarchies, in which rulers are claimed to have a God-given right to ordain. Under the state of nature, each man was considered to be the "absolute lord of his own person and possessions" and "subject to no body." 

However, Locke also acknowledged the need for a representative government which serves the needs of its people. People desire to be around others in the form of "society"; they crave the protection that community provides. The key to the functioning of this system was that the public needs to be consenting to the role of the government, upheld through a majority vote that could take away power from the governing body as necessary. This government would exist as a series of three branches: legislative, judicial, and executive.

Sound familiar? It should! These are the basic structures of a democracy. Although he did not quite conceptually have a name for this form of government, Locke was far ahead of his time in dreaming up what a civil government could look like.

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