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From "Stinging Swarms Of Miseries" To A State Of Equality And Freedom

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Chapter Summary

Locke's approach to natural law theory and his political outlook developed over a number of years. The views Locke expressed in the Essay on Toleration already implied a much more securely grounded view of natural law than he had in his early writings. In Locke's mature conception of the state of nature all its inhabitants were equal; all enjoyed the same liberty to determine their own actions and all had the same rights. Locke devoted a whole chapter of the Second Treatise to a discussion of the state of nature, which he describes as a "State of perfect Freedom". The creation of civil society became a necessary development from the state of nature without having to resort to the authoritarian conclusion that the establishment of an absolute monarch had been necessary to save humanity from the "swarms of miseries" that attended the state of nature.

Keywords: Essay on Toleration; Locke; natural equality; natural freedom; Second Treatise



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