The Second Treatise
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A reading of the Second Treatise reveals Locke’s commitment to individual rights, representative government, and popular consent to government as less than robust and his assertion of a right to revolution as much qualified. Any assertion of such ideas, however tame, in the circumstances of the Exclusion Crisis of 1679–1683 would have jeopardized Locke’s life. Although written at that time, the Second Treatise was not published until 1689 and even then anonymously. Locke ended his more than five years of exile in Holland and returned to England in the train of the victorious armies of William of Orange.
The bibliographical essay addresses the many controversies regarding the Lockean teaching. Ashcraft, Dunn, Grant, Macpherson, Pangle, Simmons, Strauss, and Waldron, among others, figure prominently in the secondary literature. The bibliography identifies the new editions of Locke’s works from the Clarendon Press.