The government wasalso expected to protect private property as this was one of the reasons for joiningthe civil society. People can come to own private property through their own labour,which affects the value of the property, and they can accumulate as much as theywant that they can reasonably use before it spoils, government exists to protectman’s lives, liberty and property (Dunn, 1984) To escape thestate of nature to leave the inconveniences of having no written law men joinedtogether to form political society. All men agree to give up their liberties inorder to allow a government to rule them and protect them, this pulls them outof the state of nature, it prevents the state of war from occurring as there isnow the presence of a judge and written law which is harder to manipulate toone’s own aims than it had been in the state of nature as mentioned above(Tully, 1993).
It is important though that those in power are legitimately incharge because they could otherwise infringe on people’s liberties, thereforewhoever is in power should have majority consent of the public (ibid). The state of warcan be seen as an opposite of the state of nature. The state of nature is astate of perfect freedom for all men, governed by the law of nature where noone man is stronger than or has more power than another, this precedes thecivil society. Men are free to do as they wish as there is no one who can tellthem what to do, as long as it is within the bounds of the law of nature, thismeans not doing anything that goes against humanity which should be preserved(Second Treatise, 1; 6). With the state of nature though there is always therisk of falling into the state of war due to the law of nature beinginterpreted and applied by the people themselves in their own favour as therewas no impartial judge to do this (Second treatise, 13).
All humans inthe state of nature live by the law of nature, which is set out in chapter 2 ofthe Second Treatise, this is described by Gough (1950) as a law of reason, asreason is common to all men. This suggests that if someone chooses to ignorereason by doing wrong to another human, i.e. putting themselves into the stateof war, they are also going against the law of nature itself. Locke declaresthat if someone choses to harm other people they themselves are puttingthemselves outside the law of nature and under another rule, this is dangerousfor preservation of others who are in the state of nature and therefore it isright for them to be punished (Second treatise, 8). The ideashighlighted in the passage are explained in chapter three of the SecondTreatise, which is on the state of war, this is separate to the state of nature.
Locke describes this as a place of hostility and destruction that people enterinto either if they are brought into or bring someone else into conflict(Second Treatise, 16), which remains until the guilty party is brought tojustice by the innocent party (Second Treatise, 20). The law of nature was notwritten down anywhere and there was no judge above all other men who couldaccurately interpret these laws, therefore it was up to each person tointerpret the laws themselves which was objective and could be made to work ineach person’s favour (Yolton, 1958). The state of war is one of the reasons putforward for moving to the civil society First of all, itis important to understand the concepts presented in the passage, which putsforward that if someone makes an enemy of another they are allowed to punishthem themselves as suggested by “one may destroy a man who makes war upon him”this could be by killing them if necessary to, if it brings the innocent partyjustice as “the safety of the innocent is to be preferred” (Second Treatise, 16).The idea of reason is also mentioned, with it being claimed that as they havechosen to wrong another person they have lost their reason and are no more thanany beast “they are not under the ties of the common law of reason” (Second Treatise,16) as they are no longer tied to other men by reason they do not need to betreated as such.