John Locke and His Second Treatise on Civil Government

The influential English philosopher John Locke (1632 – 1704) was an anti-absolutist. This meant that he was against an absolutist monarchy, unlike the rest of Europe. Locke wrote many works, among which were his two main treatises.

The First Treatise on Civil Government was a response by Locke to Sir Robert Filmer´s work Patriarch. Locke argued against Filmer on the topic of the divine right of kings.

Locke’s most famous writing is the Second Treatise on Civil Government (1690). The main topic of this work is the ‘state of nature’. This is a pre-political condition, or a state before the institution of a civil government. In the ‘state of nature’ there is natural law, a law of right and wrong that has been established before all time. (To see more on this read this article: The Levellers)

Another aspect of the ‘state of nature’ is that every person, down to the smallest child, Continue reading