John Locke's Two Treatises on Government DBQ Worksheet | Student Handouts
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Excerpt from John Locke's Two Treatises on Government (1690) > World History > Enlightenment > Enlightenment Worksheets
DBQ Worksheet on John Locke's Two Treatises on Government

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But though men, when they enter into society give up the equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of Nature into the hands of society…the power of the society or legislative constituted by them can never be supposed to extend farther than the common good…. Whoever has the legislature or supreme power of any commonwealth, is bound to govern by established standing laws, promulgated and known to the people, and not by extemporary decrees, by…upright judges, who are too decide controversies by those laws; and to employ the force of the community at home only in the execution of such laws; and to employ the force of the community at home only in the execution of such laws, or abroad to prevent or redress foreign injuries and secure the community from inroads and invasion. And all this is to be directed to no other end but the peace, safety, and public good of the people.

The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property; and the end while they choose and authorize a legislative is that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the properties of all the society…

Whensoever, therefore, the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society, and either by ambition, fear, folly, or corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people, by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people; who have a right to resume their original liberty, and by the establishment of a new legislative (such as they shall think fit), provide for their own safety and security…
Questions: 1. Summarize the text in your own words. 2. According to Locke, why do people form governments? 3. When people enter a society, what do they give up? 4. Do you agree with John Locke?  Why or why not? Click here to print.
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