The Lockean Commonwealth

Ross Corbett, The Lockean Commonwealth (Albany: SUNY Press, 2009).

The tension between executive prerogative in times of emergency and the importance of maintaining and preserving the rule of law has been a perennial concern for modern democratic states. The Lockean Commonwealth reappraises John Locke’s contribution to this timely topic. By paying careful attention to the arguments put forward in Locke’s famous Two Treatises on Government, Ross J. Corbett advances a new interpretation of Locke’s political agenda, one that argues that the interplay between “prerogative” and “legislative supremacy” formed the axis around which turned the practical component of Locke’s political theory. With a firm grasp of Locke’s historical context, Corbett is able to show how Locke’s attempts to balance these competing interests provides insight, not only into the development of the liberal democratic state, but also into questions that trouble us to this day and into questions of political life more generally.