Locke’s State of Nature

Examines John Locke’s `Second Treatise of Government` and his description of the state of nature.

In Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, his main concern is with the protection of private property. The paper examines Locke’s arguments for a `positive` and a `negative` state of nature and his theories on how property can be protected from the government.
`To understand Locke’s theory of legitimate government one must look at his theory of men in the state of nature. However in Second Treatise of Government there are inconsistencies and ambiguities as to the description of a state of nature. At first he describes men in a good state of nature: a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man (ch. 11, sec.4) They are also in a state of equality in nature; no man has more power than another does. The law of nature teaches mankind that, all being equal and independent; no one ought to harm another in his life, liberty, and possessions.`