John Locke – theory of social contract

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John Locke – theory of social contract

The essay is to be six pages, and cannot use any external resources other than the book/class lectures. If it does, it gets counted as plagiarism so I’d like to ask that you are careful , thank you for this. The question is below:

This question has two parts: John Locke’s theory of the social contract is one of the foundational stones of the American constitutional system. This is because the entire goal of the Second Treatise is to outline the limits of legitimate power. As such, he also provides us with a rationale for judging when power has overstepped its legitimate boundaries and violated the fiduciary grant made to the government. Part 1): In an essay describe in broad outlines the nature of this fiduciary grant. Why is it needed? Next, recall the allowance Locke makes for exigencies in his notion of executive prerogative. As we discussed in class, executive prerogative gives the executive branch wide latitude in acting to defend society, even if sometimes this means that some cherished aspects of the social contract (e.g., the constitution) need to be violated. Part 2): Under what conditions would you be comfortable with the exercise of this prerogative? How would you justify this power given the importance Locke (and the American founding fathers, broadly defined) placed on limited government?

[Helpful Hint: For the first part of the essay, it might be useful to draw in the broadest outlines how Locke understands the state of nature, the injunctions given to man by God, the problems that arise therein, etc. In other words, give an account of man’s journey from the state of nature to civil society].

Link to John Lockes second treatise –


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