Writing Assignment: John Locke & The Glorious Revolution (L30)

What was the Glorious Revolution? Why is it significant in English history?

The Glorious Revolution occurred in 1688, after Charles II’s brother, James, Duke of York, took his place on the throne as a Catholic and became King James II. Not only did it seem that James II was trying to restore England to Catholicism, but shortly after taking the throne his wife birthed a son. The (Protestant) people of England were in distress – some even went as far as to say the pregnancy was staged in order to keep Protestants from taking the throne.
A message was sent to James II’s son-in-law, William of Orange. He was urged to come and “save the liberties of England, and the Protestant religion”. In turn, this led to James fleeing to France; and no civil war broke out thankfully. William and Mary (James’ wife) rule jointly and agree to a Bill of Rights.
The Glorious Revolution is significant in English history because, it was a nearly bloodless revolution. With a minuscule total of 15 deaths in a small outbreak, this revolution was simple, and easy. The Glorious Revolution was successful without having lost many lives in the process, which makes it extremely unique.

On what grounds does Locke believe people can establish a claim to property ownership over a previously unowned good?

John Locke believes that the right to private property comes from self ownership. The right of man to establish a claim on property that is currently unowned is what he refers to as homesteading. In the words of Locke, this would be the “mixing of one’s labor” with the specific unowned area to gain ownership. Increasing the worth of something, or improving it by means of physical and mental labor results in ownership in this sense.

Why does Locke believe absolute monarchy fails to resolve the “inconveniences” of the state of nature?

Disclaimer: Locke’s reasoning also disproves the effectiveness of civil government, not just absolute monarchy. I do not know how keen he was to what he was really saying with this statement, or how broadly it applied. I don’t think he considered all of what he was saying, or applied it beyond this situation.

Locke’s “inconveniences” of the state of nature are the following;
– there is “no body of universally recognized law that we can
– “there is no reliable law enforcement”
– and, finally, that “people are bad judges in their own cases”
(Quotes courtesy of Tom Woods, Lesson 29 – RPC)

Locke believes that absolute monarchy fails to resolve the “inconveniences” of the state of nature because,  it cannot possibly be impartial to everybody. When two people are having a dispute, sure the monarchy can help there; but what happens when a dispute is between a person and the monarchy itself? Nobody else is stepping in for the monarchy to fairly judge and rule on the dispute. It is man Vs. government and the deciding factor IS the government. How can you be impartial in a situation and defend yourself at the same time? Well, you can’t; the monarchy, and any form of government for that matter, are taking on a responsibility that they simply cannot follow through with. Locke’s point here, is that, well actually you’re still partially in the state of nature when you’re under a monarchy.


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