Response Paper on Locke’s Second Treatise of Government
John Locke is often credited not only with being the “father of modern liberalism,” but also with having a major influence on the American Revolution and the subsequent founding of the liberal constitutional order in the United States. But is Locke’s political theory still relevant to us today? Having read extensive portions of the Second Treatise, this paper will offer you an opportunity to respond to your reading of Locke, based on your own contemporary understandings, experiences, and observations. What does Locke, writing in the 17thCentury, have to tell students of politics today? What, if any, theories, propositions, and/or arguments does Locke offer that have particular relevance for us in the 21st Century? Respond with specific citations to places in the text where you think Locke offers today’s citizens insights into human nature and politics that continue to be useful in our current context. Alternatively, you can argue that there is little to be found in the text of the Second Treatise that is useful to us in the current context. Or you can write about where we need to pay attention to Locke’s claims and where we do/should not. With this paper, you can make comparisons with Hobbes’ Leviathan if you wish, or you can focus exclusively on Locke. But again, whatever approach you take, you need cite specific passages from the Second Treatise in supporting your conclusions.
Approximately 1,000 words.