Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration
Two of Locke’s most mature and influential political writings and three brilliant interpretive essays combined in an outstanding volume
"The new standard edition of Locke for students of political theory. Dunn, Grant, and Shapiro combine authoritative historical scholarship and contemporary political theory to give us Locke for our time."—Elisabeth H. Ellis, Texas A&M University
Among the most influential writings in the history of Western political thought, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration remain vital to political debates today, more than three centuries after they were written. The complete texts appear in this volume, accompanied by interpretive essays by three prominent Locke scholars. Ian Shapiro’s introduction places Locke’s political writings in historical and biographical context. John Dunn explores both the intellectual context in which Locke wrote the Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration and the major interpretive controversies surrounding their meaning. Ruth Grant offers a comprehensive discussion of Locke’s views on women and the family, and Shapiro contributes an essay on the democratic elements of Locke’s political theory. Taken together, the texts and essays in this volume offer invaluable insights into the history of ideas and the enduring influence of Locke’s political thought.
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... consent, majority rule, resistance, and the foundations of political legitimacy that have become perennials of political argument in the modern West.
... legitimate political authority is rooted in the consent of the governed. It has been clear since John Dunn's seminal study of the religious foundations ...
... our present king William; to make good his title in the consent of the people; which being the only one of all lawful governments, he has more fully and ...
... vindicated the right of kings in most points, never thought of this; but, with one consent, admitted the natural liberty and equality of mankind.” § 5.
“ Princes have their power absolute, and by divine right; for slaves could never have a right to compact or consent. Adam was an absolute monarch, ...