Friday, September 18, 2009

Did Thomas Jefferson read John Locke?

I believe that Thomas Jefferson did in fact read over John Locke's "Second Treatise". There are several points in the Declaration where there are verbatim passages from the Second Treatise. For example, the Second Treatise uses the line " Life, Liberty and property", but the Declaration changes it to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Also the Declaration talks about Locke's "Laws of nature and Laws of God". It seems as if Thomas Jefferson just took ideas from many different political figures and added all of their ideas into the Declaration.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Second Treatise

The beginning of the Second Treatise starts out with the title "Of the State of Nature" and basically states that all humans have the right to be free and to do what they want when under their own rules and laws. It states that one should not be evil or harming towards others unless another acts criminally upon you or upon another and you are simply interfering to help and cause good. But, this right is given up after you join a government because of the fact that you add to the governments system and follow their rules and abide by their laws in exchange for protection of the government. But one does give up the right to punish others and follow their own laws against criminals when under the governments rules.

Another section known as the "Of the extent of the Legislative Power", is stating that the Legistlative branch of government is the only one that has the power and cannot give or shift power to any other branch or person. It also states that once part of the government, the Legislative government is the most supreme power of the government and must respected by all those who are citizens of the government. The other two main points say that the government must consult before raising the taxes for the people and that the Legislative branch was created and used for the greater good of the citizens under the government.

Finally the "Dissolution of Government" talks about how if one is to use his own authority and punishes another, than he has put himself at a state of war with not only the person he punished but also the government. In conclusion, the second treatise states that once the power has been given to the government by the people, it cannot be reverted back to the people and must stay with the government as long as it lasts.