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john locke

Updated on December 15, 2014

John Locke property and the state

John locke takes a different approach to Thomas Hobbes in regards to property. Thomas Hobbes believed that your right to property ultimately belonged to the state. However Hobbes believed that if you work on the land you own you are entitled to any property you acquire. For example if you plant tomato seeds and water them everyday you will own the end crop of the tomatoes, where as Hobbes believed that the land owner (the state) would own the tomatoes.

If the government is a 'tryant' than the people have a right to over throw the state/monarchy. To quote from his the two treaties of civil government "God owns the earth and has given it to us to enjoy" therefore nobody has ultimate property rights. The only right you have is when you mix your labour with the land then you have the right to whatever you acquire.

Locke's view on the state is that it only exists to preserve the right of the people and if the government fails then the people have a right to rebel and withdraw their support. His views were to maximise individual liberates and minimise government liberties. He also believed that the government have no right to stay and that the citizen can remove the government without the fear of punishment or death. Also regarding property Locke states that the government can not remove your property.

Problem with John Locke's theory

In the two treaties of civil government Locke states that if a citizen of the UK can not acquire property in this country they should go over to America and acquire it however there was aborigines living their so he contradicts himself. Don't they own their land and why would it be just to take their land? This is Locke's failed point on property.

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