Zwei Abhandlungen über die Regierung

by John Locke

Other authorsHans Jörn Hoffmann (Translator)
Paperback, 1992



Call number

CF 5804 R335



Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp


Published in 1690, Locke's works were immensely influential in the politics of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and provided the foundation for liberal democracy.

User reviews

LibraryThing member chellinsky
Locke's Two Treatises of Government surprisingly lived up to my expectations. He argues in two parts: 1) apologists for monarchical governments are wrong and 2) the people of a society are the ones with ultimate power and sway over the social contract. This latter argument is the more important
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part for contemporary and present-day people that want to understand this thing we call "freedom." However, without the first Treatise, the second loses its context–it demonstrates Locke's motivation.

Additionally, I found the introductory material to the Cambridge Student Edition edited by Peter Laslett fascinating. Laslett provides context surround thing the history of the text alongside some useful analysis of Locke that made reading the Two Treatises much easier.

Locke should be required reading--to some extent--for people that wish to participate in and benefit from a democracy.
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
I doubt very much that anyone nowadays is going to quibble with Locke's anti-divine right of kings position. But he has nothing to put in his place but "protection of property" i.e. unfettered global capitalism and that whole filthy liberal project--and when both conservative (Burke) and
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proto-"reform liberalism" (Mill) thinkers would so easily go him one better in terms of compassion, inspiration, and humanity, that seems a tad feeble. (To say nothing of the religious, Utopian, and revolutionary alternative traditions.) Also he doesn't come to terms at all with the slave trade, at best, and condones it at worst, and elides over the gross exclusionary implications of his focus on poverty with glib talk about social contract v. state of war, and I think that's just cowardly. "Right of conquest" my fucking cock, Johnny, and while the yucky seepage of your venal, pedantic ideas into documents like the American Declaration of Independence may have dragged the discourse in a less sanguinary-absolutist direction and we can all appreciate that (and the "right of conquest" is to a certain degree balanced by the "right of revolution"), they also did more than almost any other writing to permit our greed-based society. The word "property" should never appear in anyone's foundational principles, ever.
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LibraryThing member heidip
In the Second Treatises of Government, John Locke sets forward the history of how governments came into being. First they started out in a state of nature following the law of nature. They started as family groups with the leader generally being the father. But, he quickly points out that the
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mother also has rights over the family. After family groups got too big, they normally gravitated to monarchial societies. However, he sets out to prove that there is no Divine Right of Kings. All people are free to choose their own governments. Government is for the protection of the person, all the work of his hands and property, and his liberties. When governments are not protecting and/or are harming their people and their property and liberty, then it is not a valid government. The people have a right to rebel against their rulers, dissolve that government, and create another government because the power resides with the people. Many ideas in this book are foundational to the ideas in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, such as three branches of government, checks and balances, a society based on laws, no lawful right to search and seizure of property without the consent of the person, etc.
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LibraryThing member Paul_S
A lot of it is wasted on pointless argumentation about what exactly does the Bible say about the right to rule. There's a lot of Bible quoting and it doesn't get sensible until halfway through. The rest of it is groundbreaking nevertheless quite common sense nowadays. Except the bit about rulers
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not being allowed to appoint other rulers who were not elected directly by the people and ceding any law making power to them. Sounds like what is annoying people about the EU.
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LibraryThing member mattries37315
Originally published in the wake of the Glorious Revolution these two essays were neglected due to a glut of tracts and treatise in support of the events of 1689-90, it wasn’t until the 1760s that they become important in political discourse. Two Treatise of Government by John Locke were a
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refutation of absolute monarchy and the theory of the state of nature and how government is created.

The less famous First Treatise is a straight line for line critique of Sir Robert Filmer’s divine right absolutist monarch supporting tract, Patriarcha, the conclusion of which Locke examines the Bible and history to demolish Filmer’s hypothesis. In the Second Treatise Locke turns from Filmer’s work into his own theories of the state of nature and how it eventually led to the formation of a government by contract between individuals. Overall, the First Treatise is slog with Locke apparently having to repeat the same evidence to refute Filmer and essentially isn’t needed to understand its follow-up. On the other hand, the Second Treatise begins slowly as Locke references Filmer until transition to his own theory of the state of nature that leads to his own contract theory that is thought-provoking and historically influential.

Two Treatise of Government while being connected as a refutation and then opposing argument, the latter work by John Locke this is more profound not only as political theory and from an historical perspective.
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