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MLA
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Social Sciences
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English (U.S.)
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Defend Locke Against The Charges Leveled By Rousseau (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

*** Rousseau tells us in the First Discourse (see also Second Discourse, 199 and context) that luxury (the development of which is spurred by the concept of “property") is perhaps the problem that leads to the degeneration of humanity and man's existence as a respectable moral being. Furthermore, the first person to claim property for himself is the “true founder of civil society" and therefore also the author of “crimes, wars, murders," miseries and horrors for mankind that all could have been avoided if only someone had acted to reject the notion of private property (Second Discourse, 141-2). Yet, Locke tells us (mainly in the Second Treatise but also in various places in the First) that the natural law (aka Reason) not only sanctionsprivate property, but indeed also obligates man to work the earth and appropriate it as his property for the good of mankind (see Second Treatise, §26 (among others)).
*** You should take the side of one of the authors against the other. To that end, your essay should focus on the argument of one while making reference to the other only as necessary. The author upon which you focus, of course, will depend on which argument you choose to make.
Defend Locke against the charges leveled by Rousseau that his political philosophy leads to the degeneration of mankind, to the harmful corruption of humanity. How does the Law of Nature lead to the acquisition of private property? That is, how is this activity (acquisition of private property) supported by the Law of Nature? What limits/ends does the Law of Nature supply to political life? How is the unlimited pursuit and acquisition of private property a moral good that constitutes the “Publick
Good"?
*** Papers should be argumentative essays, not summaries. Your task is to stake out a clear position with your thesis statement and then to support that claim with evidence from the text. You should always explain quotations in order to demonstrate the point you are making by calling on them. Saying "The author believes x. This can be seen in: "quotation 1" is not explaining a quotation. Again, your task is to discover the author's argument and to present it with explanation, not to present your opinion in light of what you have read. You may cite quotations parenthetically by page number in our edition. A bibliography is unnecessary unless you make use of secondary sources; simply use a clear reference to the book being used before the page number as it occurs in our edition (eg. (2nd Discourse, 131).). Using other relevant divisions (e.g.) paragraph numbers) may be preferable because more accurate.
Just take the reference or quotation in the 2 books I gave you. Thank you.( I don't have the book The First and Second Discourse, but I attached other book The Social Contract which also contains the First and Second Discourse part inside)

source..
Content:

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Defending Locke from Rousseau
Introduction
Based on his concept of the law of nature, Locke argues that since people are created free, equal, and independent, they are able to enjoy equal rights. This makes the state of nature an important aspect of representing all people. In order to ensure good governance, people are free to choose the kind of government, they wish for and when it is proven that it does not represent their interests, the government is discarded and a new one is formed. This means that it is not possible for a government to be legitimate if it does not have the real consent from the people it is governing. However, it is not possible for people to agree to discard a government that is good once they have formed it since this is what they are looking for.
On the issue of property, Locke argues that it represents a wide range of human aspirations and interests as well as a material good. This makes the property one among the natural rights derived from labor. For Locke, individual ownership of property and goods is justified by the amount of labor a person exerts in producing the goods he owns or in utilizing property to produce goods that benefit human society. This is because without people working, the nature alone provides little societal value. This is an indication that the labor used in creating goods adds value to nature. This led to the creation of the labor theory of property that argues that owning property results from the application of labor. This is the reason for Locke, property comes first before the government implying that the government cannot dispose estates of individuals arbitrarily since they acquired them using their own labor and effort.
Defending Locke from Rousseau
However, even though Locke is clear in explaining how people start as equals, but some are left out because they do not exert the same effort as others, his political philosophy is criticized by Rousseau. However, this does not mean that Rousseau wins in his argument, since there are numerous factors to defend Locke's stance. According to Rousseau, Locke's political philosophy results in degeneration of mankind and eventually in the harmful corruption of humanity. In the First Discourse, Rousseau makes it clear that luxury, which is a concept spurred up by property is a major cause leading to degeneration of humanity and man's existence as a respectable moral being. This is because the first person to claim ownership of personal property is considered the real founder of the civil society, but also the creator of crimes, horrors, wars, miseries, and murders for mankind. This is the reason this could be avoided if the idea of ownership of personal property was rebuked.
Rousseau means that while people struggle and compete to exert more labor and thus produce more goods and property, wars among other evils are realized. This results from greed since people are free to acquire as much wealth and property as they can. It is also from this idea of owning more wealth, which requires more labor that a person would be tempted to misuse others for his own good. For instance, in order to own more property, a person would require more labor. For the exerted labor to be profitable, he has to pay his laborers poorly to minimize expenses while maximizing profits. It is also from this that the few wealthy people would be tempted to form governments that represent their ego-centered interests rather than the interests of all citizens. Since they are powerful based on their wealth, they would be the law makers and founders of the government, which Rousseau argues that would lead to more crimes and wars.
However, to defend his stand, Locke makes it clear that even though people are free to ma...

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