Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Locke finishes the chapter by tracing the genesis of money. Here, readers must consider the time in which Locke is writing—the late 1600s. Locke then defines labor as the determining factor of value, the tool by which humans make their world a more advantageous and rewarding place to inhabit. Thus, everyone is confined by moderation. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. While some maintained land could not be owned privately, Locke was a loud advocate of a person’s right to land. In 1689 when Locke was writing, America was still an English colony and had not yet declared independence. Money, backed by labor and the natural rights of people, becomes the basis for expansion beyond the subsistence level of property. Summary Locke begins this brief chapter by distinguishing between natural liberty and liberty in society. Locke’s theory doesn’t exactly fit in modernity where people are absolutely hindered in their right to self-preservation by financial inequalities, but Locke obviously had no way of knowing this in 1689 when the idea of money was in its infancy. In 1789, when America’s Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they drew heavily from the Second Treatise of Government. The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into the world by … This right is bounded by what one might call the law of subsistence--people do not have the right to take more than they can use. Here, Locke implies that one can’t hoard apples because they may spoil, thereby robbing another of their right to self-preservation through nature’s bounty; however, one can hoard money because it doesn’t spoil, so it can’t rob another of their right to self-preservation. The private ownership of land was a hot topic in Locke’s day. This right goes for all sorts of things, including land itself. Through a mutual, tacit acceptance of an essentially artificial value, human beings were able to accumulate more than they could use. They built cities, and through consent, they set boundaries for districts. A diamond, even if someone does excavate it from the earth using their labor, isn’t useful in the same way as food or wood for heat. Again, Locke points out that money’s value is assigned by mutual consent, which is the only lawful way according to Locke. Struggling with distance learning? Money has completely changed the value of things, since now value is not necessarily decided on one’s labor or the usefulness of something. Without labor, land and property is worth very little. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government and what it means. He defines natural liberty as freedom from any dominating power or existence under the rule of the law of nature. Locke applies these rules to land: a person in a state of nature can claim land by adding labor to it--building house on it or farming on it--but only so much as that person can reasonably use without waste. He notes that all useful goods--food, clothing, and so on--are generally of short life span. The invention of money changed the property equation. However, if one collects too many apples, one can then trade them for nuts with someone who has too many of those, and thus barter develops. But people have now agreed that there is value in gold, silver, and diamonds. Locke argues the right to property and the ability to protect that property is implicit in the law of nature. Locke examines the advent of money quite extensively, but he emphasizes how money completely changed land ownership, inevitably leading to land shortages. Here, Locke implies that taking more than one’s fair share of nature’s bounty makes them a thief, which effectively places them in a state of war with whomever they are depriving at the time. One can’t survive in nature without taking from nature’s bounty, thus Locke argues nature is for everyone to take within reason. Locke frequently employs the Americans as an example of an emerging civil society and government. Once trade is established, it is logical for people to want some good of common value to trade for all goods--this need leads to money. In the following years, Locke grew sick with worsening asthma and died at Lady Masham… Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in, Consent of the Governed and the Role of Government. There are limits to one’s ability to appropriate land, as their labor will only allow them to consume a small portion. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. This period of history is known as the Glorious Revolution, and it followed years of conflict between Catholics and Protestants, the … Locke starts out with the idea of the property of person--each person owns his or her own body, and all the labor that they perform with the body. Millions of books are just a click away on and through our FREE NOOK reading apps. Chapter 5: Of Property, Chapter 8: Of the Beginning of Political Societies, Chapter 9: Of the End of Political Society and Government, Chapter 10: Of the Forms of a Common-wealth, Chapter 11: Of the Extent of Legislative Power, Chapter 12: Of the Legislative, Executive, and Federative Power of the Common-wealth, Chapter 13: Of the Subordination of the Powers of the Common-wealth, Chapter 15: Of Paternal, Political, and Despotical Power, considered together, Chapter 19: Of the Dissolution of Government. In addition to other things, Locke’s labor theory greatly informed the homestead principle, which was followed in many places, particularly the early days of America and the settlement of the West. Money fulfills the need for an imperishable valuation of worth, rooted in the property of labor. When John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government was published near the end of the seventeenth century, England was in a state of political unrest. Diamonds only have value because people decide they do. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. In the 21st century, the population has climbed to over 7 billion. SparkNotes is brought to you by Barnes & Noble. Locke starts by stating that, whether by natural reason or the word of the Bible, the earth can be considered the property of people in common to use for their survival and benefit. To continue the apple example, I can only take as many apples as I can eat before they go bad; if I take too many apples and some of them rot and go to waste, I have overextended my natural rights of acquisition. From there, they settled individual properties, and their labor placed value on things. This appropriation of goods does not demand the consent of humankind in general--each person has license to appropriate things in this way by individual initiative. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Locke wrote Two Treatise of Government in 1689 at Ashley’s insistence. He notes that all useful goods--food, clothing, and so on--are generally of short life span. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our, Second Treatise of Government:

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