The Abolition of Slavery

Slavery first began in the West when Portuguese slave-trading ships, loaded with captured African men, women and children, landed in the harbors of the Americas. Although this trade was begun by Portugal, England, Holland and France joined in the 17th century.

The slaves were taken on ships from West Africa to Brazil, the Caribbean Islands and British North America. Continue reading

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

The Levellers

The Levellers were a group of political thinkers in the seventeenth century, during the English Civil War. They are often considered the first influential Western libertarian movement.

The root of the Levellers’ philosophy came, for the most part, from the idea of self-ownership. In other words: you own yourself. They also believed in the right to do what you want with your own property. “You can do what you want, as long as it doesn’t violate another’s individual rights.” Continue reading