John Locke's Two Treatises of Government has long been recognized as one of the great works of political philosophy. Three centuries after it was written, students and scholars continue to study it for insights into the intellectual origins of the modern world and for a better understanding of such fundamental concepts as natural rights, social contract, limited government, and the rule of law.
The seven essays in this volume explore various dimensions of Locke's Two Treatises. The introductory essay places the new scholarship in a historical context. The next four essays show how this recent literature has affected our view of particular aspects of the Two Treatises: its theory of politics, its religious underpinnings, its theory of rationality, and its conception of the relationship between politics and economics. The final two essays discuss how the new scholarship has changed our understanding of the impact of the Two Treatises upon political thought in the eighteenth and late-twentieth centuries. Included at the end of the text is an extended secondary bibliography on John Locke's Two Treaties.
These essays do not seek closure. Nor do they set forth a single "correct" interpretation. Instead they offer readers a deeper appreciation of how our view of Locke's Two Treatises has changed over the last three decades and the importance of those changes in understanding of the liberal tradition....Continua