How And Why Does Locke Explain The Creation, Value And Protection Of Property?

7443 words - 30 pages

Locke says that the state has a responsibility to preserve people's private property. He (1688) says "The great and chief end, therefore, of men's uniting into common-wealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property" (p. 262). The state has to set laws which establish the rights of the people to own property. It has to have judges to decide between disputes. And it has to have people to execute the law once it's passed. The reason why people join a society is to get this particular protection for their property, or else they would have remained in a state of nature. For the same reason they have to protect it they can't take it away as well. Since people join a society to preserve their property not to have it taken away. If the state would have the right to take it away it would be as if they wouldn't have any property at all. Since, Locke (1688) says, "I have truly no property in that, which another can by right take from me, when he pleases, against my consent" (p. 266). People would be a lot better off living in a state of nature where at least, they have a right to try to defend themselves when someone tried to take their property. They would never willingly agree for the state to have the right to take their property whenever they pleased. In order for Locke to come up with his opinions of the role of state in regarding property he assumed a number of things including people have a right to their own preservation, the way to acquire property is through labor in the land, and that land is better acquired than lying not toiled in the common. Locke (1688) says, "that men, being once born, have a right to their preservation" (p. 250). As soon as a person is born he automatically has the right to try to preserve himself by any means possible, as long as he does not infringe on someone else's property. And that god gave humans the world and everything in it including the fruit it produces, and the animals it feeds. People have a right to all of it to preserve themselves. He (1688) then says that in order to preserve ourselves we need "a means to appropriate them some way or another"( p. 251), and the way to do it is through labor. He (1688) says that "every man has a property in his own person" (p. 251), and therefore the work of his hand belongs to him as well. So by adding labor to property we add something of our own to it the "labour put a distinction between them and common" (Locke, 1688 p. 251). By causing a change in the land with our property we take it out of "the hands of nature" (Locke, 1688 p. 252) and make it our own. He then says that by people acquiring land they are not taking away land from anybody else since there is so much of it. And not only are they are not doing anything wrong they are actually doing a good thing for every one else. Since the land left in the common, land that nobody uses is like wasting. He (1688) says that land that is worked on and some gain comes from it is "ten...

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