John Locke pp 157-166 | Cite as

The Justification of Government

  • J. D. Mabbott
Part of the Philosophers in Perspective book series


Government comes into existence in order to protect property, whether in the narrow sense of possessions, or widened to include life, health and liberty. Thus it would seem that any actions of government or any powers attributed to it must be justified by their contribution to this end. Hobbes had argued in this way from his narrower premiss, the protection of life. From such premisses nothing necessarily follows concerning the form of government. ‘The sovereign, be he a man or an assembly of men’, says Hobbes; though he goes on to argue that monarchy is most likely to achieve that security which is the end of government. Locke argues, in the reverse direction, that absolute monarchy is the greatest possible danger to those rights which government exists to protect.


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© J. D. Mabbott 1973

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  • J. D. Mabbott

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