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John Locke And Government's Purpose Essay

994 words - 4 pages

In my high school government class senior year, my teacher made the class recite and repeat the rights that are clearly stated in the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States. “The right of speech, the right of the press, the right to petition, the right to religion, and the right to assemble…” we rattled off the list, then started again.
When I stepped out of high school and into the real world, I realized just how grateful I was for the rights that I had and the fact that I had a government that allowed me to live in liberty and observe these rights. The idea of human nature has been studied as early as the ancient Greeks, and continues to be studied today because government will always be important. It can either allow for liberty or turn into a vicious tyranny. And all behind it is the basis of government: liberty and personal rights.
As members of society, or even just being human beings, these rights are ours. They are fundamental and crucially important. In order for mankind to achieve self liberty, a government or organization is necessary, but only through government that is chosen by and representative of the people of the society. Through this government that provides power to the people, liberty is preserved by protecting rights, giving a voice to the general society, and if need be, creating a way to keep in check or remove a corrupt government.
Forward thinking John Locke described the government’s purpose in his Second Treatise on government. To this great thinker, political power is “a right of making laws…only for the public good” (Locke). This idea of organization is key to liberty. Government is made to protect the rights of a free person, not to remove or tarnish them. Thus, it is the type or arrangement of government that determines whether or not freedom will be protected or targeted. If the leadership takes away from the seminal ideas Locke introduced, and begins to poke around in other orders, freedom cannot continue, because human rights become less than the number one priority.
What exactly is freedom? To the Greeks in ancient times, freedom was the “privilege of taking part in the political process” (Fox 5). And the highest freedom “could be realized by observing society’s rules” (Fox 6). If the government’s focus is freedom, it means the leadership is focused on how to create a society in which all men of that society are free through laws and rules that protect basic rights and allow the people to pick the leaders who create the laws.
A government could fulfill its duties of guarding the rights of the people, for example, through a “Rule of Law”, which would be “a beacon of liberty” (Fox 35). By applying guidelines to in what ways the elected can pass laws on items pertaining to the freedoms of man, even his individual freedoms, it attempts to contain the problems of laws becoming unjust.
The point of a rule of law, protecting rights, and...

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