John Locke on Jean Jacques Rousseau

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Politics

Document 1

His ideologies are common in education theory, religious toleration, and theology. Locke was born in the year 1632 in Wrington, England. His family was not poor but also not necessarily wealthy. He died in 1704 after he had accomplished several works that covered his areas of interest mentioned above. In the course of the late Renaissance period in Europe and the enlightenment that followed, there developed a particular interest in the natural state/ condition of humanity. According to Hugo, all nations of the world were part of a larger transnational society which was subject to the law of nature, that the society is based on the natural, sociable nature of human beings (Hobbes 23). He also adds that the same rules used to govern the behavior of people in a community should be used to facilitate relationships between different societies in times of peace as well as during war (Hobbes 23).

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Pufendorf places his arguments in two notions of ‘here’ and ‘there,’ here is where people live together with one another under a standard rule of the state, and there is where they live in scattered households. He states that here is the ring of reason that is characterized by peace, wealth, splendor, security and benevolence while there is the ring of passions where there is jealousy, fear, poverty, war, nastiness, solitude, savory and ignorance (Hobbes 27). According to Hobbes (30), human beings do not have a natural tendency to establish societies, but instead, they have one that is meant to address their self-interest. Nonetheless, a social contract was essential to bring about means of settling disputes. He elaborates this statement by saying that whenever there is theft in nature, the society encourages the protection of property and preservation of natural freedoms which people in the state of nature enjoyed (Locke 21).

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John Locke is ultimately concerned with the foundation of political authority; he is mainly focused on describing who should have power. He argues that political authority is not something natural or part of God’s will. Monarchs do not have the legitimate political authority nor do they have a right to rule, they rule by power (Locke 21). Locke argues that it is not necessarily essential to obtain consent from all the members of society but preferably the majority of the constituent group to form a government/ political body (Locke 37). He advises that while forming a government, a constitution is a key to ensuring that all people are abiding by the laws and provide penalties to those who do not live by the stated rules.

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This kind of legitimization is what makes it possible for people to elect, reelect or completely remove a government from its position. People need to exercise their free will in choosing a government or when they are deciding whether to have or not to have a government (Locke 54). Political authority should not be forced on them; they have rights to express opinions that differ in ideologies from those of the government that is ruling over them. He states that social contract has its origins from people who live together in a state of nature and who later agree to form a society. Nonetheless, this does not mean that people in a state of nature are al moral, in fact here was wickedness and justice even before civilization and politics came to exist (Rousseau 45).

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He also blames the duty to preserve oneself results to an individual state of pride that forces human beings to compare themselves to others allowing them to take advantage o and pleasure in the weaknesses or pains of others. Rousseau blames the corrupt nature of man in the development of disciplines in sciences and art. He argues that these two areas of specialization created luxury and idleness that have undermined true friendship by replacing it with fear and suspicion making governments more powerful at the expense of individual liberty (Rousseau 47). Locke believes that human beings are naturally social beings; it then becomes challenging to separate the natural and cultural since they are inherently part of humanity making Rousseau’s idea of solitary man is somewhat impossible.

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