Of Civil Government

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John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government constitutes one of the cardinal works of English political philosophy. His theories respecting the nature of the state and the manner in which governments can best maintain a balance of power provided a vigorous incentive to American and French revolutionaries of the eighteenth century. Moreover, it was Locke who conceived the idea of checks and balances contained in the Constitution of the United States, and his doctrine that revolution in some circumstances is not only a right but an obligation is strongly reflected in the revolutionary discourses of Voltaire and Rousseau.

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