Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Second Treatise of Government

Author: John Locke

Quote: To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.

Why you should read this book: Locke, one of the authors of the Enlightenment, set out his ideas about government in a perfectly rational world, according to his understanding of reason, applying scientific principles to the organization of society. Thomas Jefferson and America's founding fathers drew heavily on his ideas about freedom and equality in penning the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Nearly everything in this book makes perfect sense, and it's interesting to see how American democracy developed from these ideas, and where it's deviated.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You're not interested in being a member of society.

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