Two Treatises of Government: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Two Treatises of Government

1st Edition

By Jeremy Kleidosty, Ian Jackson

Macat Library

102 pages

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Paperback: 9781912127559
pub: 2017-07-04
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Description

John Locke’s 1689 Two Treatises of Government is a key text in the history of political theory – one whose influence remains marked on modern politics, the American Constitution and beyond.

Two Treatises is more than a seminal work on the nature and legitimacy of government. It is also a masterclass in two key critical thinking skills: evaluation and reasoning. Evaluation is all about judging and assessing arguments – asking how relevant, adequate and convincing they are. And, at its heart, the first of Locke’s two treatises is pure evaluation: a long and incisive dissection of a treatise on the arguments in Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha. Filmer’s book had defended the doctrine that kings were absolute rulers whose legitimacy came directly from God (the so-called “divine right of kings”), basing his arguments on Biblical explanations and evidence. Locke carefully rebutted Filmer’s arguments, on their own terms, by reference to both the Bible and to recorded history. Finding Filmer’s evidence either to be insufficient or unacceptable, Locke concluded that his argument for patriarchy was weak to the point of invalidity.

In the second of Locke’s treatises, the author goes on to construct his own argument concerning the sources of legitimate power, and the nature of that power. Carefully building his own argument from a logical consideration of man in “the state of nature”, Locke creates a convincing argument that civilised society should be based on natural human rights and the social contract.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text Who was John Locke? What does Two Treatises of Government say? Why does Two Treatises of Government matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited

About the Authors

Dr Jeremy Kleidosty received his PhD in international relations from the University of St Andrews. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Jväskylä, and is the author of The Concert of Civilizations: The Common Roots of Western and Islamic Constitutionalism.

Ian Jackson is a PhD student in the Politics, Philosophy and Religion department at Lancaster University. He is interested in the role new media plays in the dissemination of ideas.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POL000000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / General