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Synopsis

First published anonymously in December 1689, John Locke’s “Two Treatises of Government” are considered to be some of the most important works of political philosophy ever written. In the first treatise Locke disputes the divine right of monarchial rule principle that is put forth in the book “Patriarcha” by Sir Robert Filmer. The first treatise is in fact a sentence by sentence refutation of “Patriarcha.” Filmer asserts the idea that absolute authority over the world flows from the Biblical Adam and his ownership of the world and that the heir of Adam is the rightful inheritor of this authority. Locke dismisses this line of reasoning that authority flows from some divine lineage to the first man in favor of a system based on natural laws and consent of the people. In the second treatise Locke sets forth the basic principles of natural law that lay the foundation for basic human rights and the government of man. Also contained within this volume is the shorter work, “A Letter Concerning Toleration.” These works collectively represent some of the first and most important rejections of monarchial rule and helped to lay the foundation towards the representative governments that now dominate the Western world. This edition includes an introduction by Henry Morley and a biographical afterword.

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