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JOHN LOCKE:

Update May 4b: new material on Locke:

JOHN LOCKE [1632-1704]: PHILOSOPHER OF THE RISING
BOURGEOISIE IN 17TH CENTURY ENGLAND
 

     # THE RISING BOURGEOIS IN 17TH-CENTURY ENGLAND
FELT REPEATEDLY FRUSTRATED BY THE POLICIES OF
ENGLAND'S ABSOLUTE MONARCHS. FOR INSTANCE, MANY
RURAL BOURGEOIS WERE TRYING TO ENCLOSE COMMON
PASTURELAND TO CREATE COMMERCIAL FARMS OR RANGES,
AND THE MONARCH, LOOKING AFTER THE INTEREST OF POOR
PEASANTS, OFTEN OBSTRUCTED THE PROCESS.

     # THE BOURGEOIS OFTEN FELT THE KING HAD TOO
MUCH POWER, THAT PARLIAMENT, WHERE THE BOURGEOISIE
HAD GROWING INFLUENCE, SHOULD HAVE MUCH MORE POWER.

     # THE MAIN MOUTH PIECE FOR ENGLAND'S RISING
BOURGEOIS CLASS IN 17TH-CENTURY ENGLAND WAS ENGLISH
PHILOSOPHER JOHN LOCKE.

     # IN 1690, JOHN LOCKE WROTE AN IMPORTANT BOOK
ENTITLED THE SECOND TREATISE ON GOVERNMENT. THIS
BOOK IS AN IMPORTANT CLASSIC, THE BOOK MORE THAN
ANY OTHER THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF MODERN ENGLAND AND
OF THE UNITED STATES IS BASED ON.  MANY OF THE
AMERICAN FOUNDING FATHERS, ESP. THOMAS JEFFERSON,
HAD STUDIED LOCKE CAREFULLY AND GREATLY ADMIRED HIS
POLITICAL IDEAS. KEY IDEAS OF THAT BOOK FOLLOW.

     # LOCKE PICKS UP FROM HOBBES IDEA OF STATE OF
NATURE AND SOCIAL CONTRACT.

     # LOCKE BELIEVED THAT IN THE STATE OF NATURE,
PEOPLE WERE NOT AS BAD AS HOBBES HAD IMMAGINED.
NONETHELESS, THEY DID HAVE CONFLICTS AND THERE WAS
VIOLENCE. THERE WAS ALSO MUCH COOPERATION.

     # LOCKE SAID PEOPLE FORMED A SOCIAL CONTRACT
WITH THE GOVERNMENT. THE MAIN FNS OF GOVN WERE: (1)
TO PROTECT PERSONS FROM ATTACK BY OTHERS; AND (2)
TO PROTECT PRIVATE PROPERTY.

     # LOCKE SAID THAT THE ULTIMATE POWER OF
GOVERNMENT [SOVEREIGNTY] WAS HELD BY THE PEOPLE,
THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS TO CARRY OUT
THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

     # THIS WAS QUITE A RADICAL DEPARTURE FROM THE
CONCEPT OF GOVERNMENT IN MANY AREAS OF THE WORLD UP
TO THAT TIME. IN ANCIENT EGYPT, FOR INSTANCE, THE
PEOPLE WERE NOT CITIZENS BUT SUBJECTS OF THE KING.
THE KING WAS ALL POWERFUL. THE PEOPLE SHOULD ACT TO
PLEASE THE KING -- FOR INSTANCE, SPEND MUCH OF
THEIR LIFE & SWEAT MERELY TO BUILD A TOMB [PYRAMID]
FOR THE KING.

     # THAT "PEOPLE SHOULD BE HUMBLE AND DUTIFUL
SUBJECTS" APPROACH WAS ALSO THE BELIEF IN ENGLAND
BEFORE LOCKE.  LOCKE TURNED THAT CONCEPT OF
GOVERNMENT UPSIDE DOWN. THE PEOPLE WERE THE
ULTIMATE SOURCE OF POWER, LOCKE SAID. AND THE
PEOPLE ARE THE ONES THAT CREATE GOVERNMENT.  AND
THE PEOPLE CREATE GOVERNMENT IN ORDER THAT THAT
GOVERNMENT WILL CARRY OUT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

     # AND WHAT DO THE PEOPLE WANT?  ACCORDING TO
LOCKE, THE PEOPLE [OR THE RISING BOURGEOIS CLASS IN
17TH-C ENGLAND] GIVE THE GOVERNMENT TWO MAIN
FUNCTIONS: (1) TO PROTECT THEIR PERSONS; (2) TO
PROTECT THEIR PROPERTY.

     # IF THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PERFORM THESE
FUNCTIONS WELL, OR IF IT TAKES ON FUNCTIONS THAT
THE PEOPLE DO NOT WANT IT TO, THEN THE PEOPLE,
LOCKE SAYS, HAVE THE RIGHT TO OVERTHROW THAT
GOVERNMENT AND TO ESTABLISH A NEW ONE. THE ENGLLISH
PEOPLE OVERTHREW KING CHARLES I IN 1649 AND JAMES
II IN 1688 BECAUSE THEY WERE DISPLEASED WITH THE
POLICIES OF THESE ABSOLUTE MONARCHS.

     # AGAIN, THERE IS A SOCIAL CONTRACT BETWEEN
THE PEOPLE AND THE GOVERNMENT. THE PEOPLE ARE
SAYING TO THE GOVERNMENT:

"GOVERNMENT, WE ARE ASSIGNING TO YOU CERTAIN POWERS
OVER US. WE ARE NOT GIVING YOU ABSOLUTE POWER --
I.E. YOU ARE NOT FREE TO EXERCISE ANY POWERS YOU
CAN DREAM UP. YOU CAN ONLY EXERCISE THOSE LIMITED
POWERS THAT THE PEOPLE GIVE YOU. THE PEOPLE ARE
ULTIMATELY THE SOURCE OF ALL POLITICAL POWER. THE
JOB OF THE GOVERNMENT IS TO DO THE PEOPLE'S WILL.
IF YOU DO NOT DO OUR WILL, THEN WE THE PEOPLE HAVE
THE RIGHT TO OVERTHROWN THE GOVERNMENT AND
ESTABLISH A NEW ONE."

     # A KEY LOCKEAN IDEA IS THIS: THAT GOVERNMENT
SHOULD NOT HAVE ABSOLUTE POWER [LIKE ALL THE 17TH-
CENTURY ENGLISH KINGS], BUT LIMITED POWER.  THE
FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE SPECIFICALLY
ENUMERATED, AND ALL OTHER POWERS ARE RESERVED TO
THE PEOPLE. THIS CONCEPT OF LIMITED GOVERNMENT THAT
LOCKE ARTICULATED IS CALLED "CLASSICAL LIBERALISM."

     # CLASSICAL LIBERALISM IS THE POLITICAL
PHILOSOPHY OF THE RISING BOURGEOIS CLASS IN
ENGLAND.
 

     # THE U.S. CONSTITUTION IS BUILT ON THIS
LOCKEAN CONCEPT OF LIMITED GOVERNMENT. THE POWERS
OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE CAREFULLY LISTED IN THE
CONSTITUTION -- THE CONGRESS SHALL HAVE POWER NOT
TO DO EVERYTHING, BUT ONLY TO DO CERTAIN LIMITED
THINGS: TO RAISE ARMIES AND NAVIES, TO REGULATE
COMMERCE, ETC.  AND THE PEOPLE HAVE CERTAIN RIGHTS
THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY NEVER INFRINGE UPON -- FOR
FREE SPEECH, FREE PRESS, FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND OF
RELIGION, ETC.
 

     # CH. 5 OF LOCKE'S SECOND TREATISE ON
GOVERNMENT IS ENTITLED "ON PROPERTY." HERE LOCKE
SETS FORTH HIS ARGUMENT FOR WHY PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE
THE RIGHT TO PRIVATE PROPERTY. WHY DOES A SETTLER
HAVE THER RIGHT TO THE LAND HE HAS BEEN WORKING?
BECAUSE HE HAS MIXED HIS LABOR IN WITH THE SOIL,
THEREBY ACQUIRING A PROPERTY IN IT.

     # ANOTHER EX. RAW LEATHER -----> FINISHED
SHOES. WHY DOES THE SHOEMAKER HAVE A RIGHT TO OWN
THE SHOES? BECAUSE HE HAS MIXED HIS LABOR AND SWEAT
INTO THE LEATHER, TRANSFORMING IT INTO A SHOE. HIS
LABOR IS ACTUALLY EMBEDDED IN THAT SHOE. THEREFORE,
THE SHOEMAKER HAS A RIGHT TO OWN THE SHOE.

     # IN 1688, JOHN LOCKE AND OTHERS OF LIKE MIND
[MANY BOURGEOIS] WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN FORCING THE
ABSOLUTE MONARCH JAMES II OUT OF THE COUNTRY AND
SETTING UP THE CONGENIAL WILLIAM AND MARY OF
ORANGE, HOLLAND ON THE THRONE OF ENGLAND. THIS SO-
CALLED "GLORIOUS REVOLUTION OF 1688" MARKED THE THE
END OF ABSOLUTE GOVERNMENT AND THE RISE OF
BOURGEOIS PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT.



Previous, Fusfeld Material on Locke:

10
 ECONOMIC LIBERALS [C]
 

 JOHN LOCKE [1632-1704], KEY ENGLISH PHILOSOPHER
  OF CLASSICAL LIBERALISM

þ OVERVIEW OF 17TH CENTURY ENGLAND

þ THOMAS HOBBES [1588-1650] LEVIATHAN

     þ PHILOSOPHER OF ABSOLUTE MONARCHY

þ LOCKE'S SECOND TREATISE ON GOVERNMENT [1690]

     þ STATE OF NATURE

     þ PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT

          þ PROTECT PERSONS
          þ PROTECT PROPERTY

     þ LABOR THEORY OF VALUE

     þ BY ADDING LABOR TO NATURAL RESOURCES, PEOPLE
       ADDED PART OF THEMSELVES TO FINAL PRODUCT,
       MAKING THE PRODUCT THEIRS TO USE OR CONSUME.

     þ LABOR --> PRODUCTION OF WEALTH

     þ PRIVATE PROPERTY --> CORNERSTONE
               OF LIBERAL IDEOLOGY.

     þ ABSOLUTE VS. LIMITED GOVERNMENT.

     þ ULTIMATE SOVEREIGNTY RESTS WITH THE PEOPLE

     þ PHILOSOPHER OF THE RISING BOURGEOIS CLASS.

þ LATER ECONOMIC LIBERALS SAID FIRST REQUISITE FOR
NATIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH WAS PROTECTION OF PRIVATE
PROPERTY:

     þ FOR UNLESS RIGHT TO PROPERTY SUSTAINED,
       INCENTIVE TO WORK REDUCED, PRODUCTION OF
       WEALTH DECREASED.

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