A Blupete Biography Page

The Extent of Government Power, Part 9 to the Life & Works of
John Locke

Locke in his works dwelt with and expanded upon the concept of government power: it is not, nor can it possibly be, absolutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of the people. For it being but the joint power of every member of the society given up to the legislative assembly, the power vested in the assembly can be no greater than that which the people had in a state of Nature before they entered into society, and gave it up to the community. For nobody can transfer, to another, more power than he possesses himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over any other, to destroy, or take away, the life or property of another. Thus, the power of our legislators13:
"... is limited to the public good of the society. It is a power that hath no other end but preservation, and therefore can never have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects... To this end it is that men give up all their natural power to the society they enter into, and the community put the legislative power into such hands as they think fit, with this trust, that they shall be governed by declared laws, or else their peace, quiet, and property will still be at the same uncertainty as it was in the state of Nature." (Second Treatise, Ch. 11.)


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