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Paper Topic:

Compare and contrast Rosseau and Locke`s conception of property. What would they say to each other?

The seventeenth and eighteenth century gave way to the first thorough Western examination of the nature of property , and the role and duties of government in protecting that property . Two authors specifically - John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau - contributed profoundly to the ensuing study of property rights , laying the intellectual foundations for such later movements as socialism and libertarianism . By examining the two political thinker 's conceptions of property and the relation of their conceived States to the protection of the property , the roots of all modern Western society , from governmental authority

to legal organization , can be found

Locke 's groundbreaking Second Treatise of Government begins with an examination of the basis for the concept of property . Locke conceives of property as a natural right which arises any time human labor is added to the products of nature , thus allowing the laboring individual to appropriate the object to which the labor was added (Locke 28 . He further expands on the conception of property to include lives liberties , and estates ' as all matters which fall under the domain of property (Locke 75 . This conception , including individual lives and liberties within property , was a radically novel concept which held a profound influence over the thinking and design of future governments such as the one of the United States of America

Having established this concept of property as a natural right stemming from labor , Locke then proceeds to delineate the main role of government in relation to this property . As Locke states , The great and chief end therefore , of men 's uniting into commonwealths , and putting themselves under government , is the preservation of their property (Locke 75 . Locke earlier contends that man outside of a government is in a state of nature ' which brings an accompanying state of perfect freedom to their actions , and dispose of their possessions and persons , as they think fit (Locke 4 . This departs significantly from Locke 's predecessor , Hobbes , who contended that the state of nature was truly a state of war of all against all . Locke 's more positivistic view of man leads him to propound the ideas of government as a necessary improvement on the natural state of liberty into which all mankind is born . Locke declares , the end of law is not to abolish or restrain but to preserve and enlarge freedom ' and thus sets the stage for his emphasis on a social contract in which the governed would give consent to a governer in to establish laws and provide protection of all property rights , including life and liberty (34 . Therein lies the essential outgrowth of the justification and aim of government from the natural law of property , placing governors as selected protectorates of an improved state of justice in which freedom from external interference with one 's property can be enjoyed by all citizens

In contrast , though deeply indebted to Locke 's work and drawing heavily from it , Jean-Jacques Rousseau 's conception of property differs greatly from the one espoused by Locke . Rousseau...

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