Tag: Liberalism

Major Works

  • Two Treatises of Government

    - Recommended edition: Two Treatises of Government, ed. Peter Laslett (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
    Excerpt: Thou hast here the beginning and end of a discourse concerning government; what fate has otherwise disposed of the papers that should have filled up the middle, and were more than all the rest, it is not worth while to tell thee. These, which… More
  • Some Thoughts Concerning Education

    - Recommended edition: Some Thoughts Concerning Education, ed. Ruth Grant and Nathan Tarcov (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996).
    Excerpt: I myself have been consulted of late by so many, who profess themselves at a loss how to breed their children; and the early corruption of youth is now become so general a complaint; that he cannot be thought wholly impertinent, who brings the… More


  • “The Forms and Formalities of Liberty”

    - Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., "The Forms and Formalities of Liberty" The Public Interest 70 (1983), 121-131.
    Excerpt: “The populism I have described as aggressive informality is fundamentally opposed to constitutionalism, which promotes respect for forms above all. Governing in a constitutional manner is governing regularly, that is, formally. Locke wrote… More
  • “A ‘Non-Lockean’ Locke and the Character of Liberalism”

    - Nathan Tarcov, “A ‘Non-Lockean’ Locke and the Character of Liberalism,” in Liberalism Reconsidered, ed. Douglas MacLean and Claudia Mills (Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Allanheld, 1983).
    Excerpt: Misunderstanding of Lockean liberalism helps to stimulate not only the historical search for non-Lockean elements in the American tradition, but also the dissatisfaction with liberalism. Not everyone can be satisfied by an understanding of man as an… More
  • Property and Political Theory

    - Alan Ryan, Property and Political Theory (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985).
    A philosophical analysis (not a history of ideas) of the relationship between work and property among a number of key western thinkers, concentrating upon how property is justified or criticized, and how it has been related to notions of citizenship. Ryan… More
  • John Locke’s Liberalism

    - Ruth Grant, John Locke’s Liberalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).
    In this work, Ruth W. Grant presents a new approach to John Locke’s familiar works. Taking the unusual step of relating Locke’s Two Treatises to his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Grant establishes the unity and coherence of… More
  • “Locke’s Political Anthropology and Lockean Individualism”

    - Ruth Grant, "Locke's Political Anthropology and Lockean Individualism," Review of Politics 50 (1988), 42-63.
    Locke’s anthropological accounts do not depict isolated individuals whose behavior is governed by rational calculations of their interests. He is not an “atomistic” individualist; he acknowledges what communitarian critics of liberalism… More
  • Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power

    - Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power, The Free Press, 1989; paperback edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993. The Johns Hopkins University Press; Reprint edition (April 1, 1993)
    From the publisher: This survey of Western political thought ranges from Aristotle to “The Federalist Papers”, showing how the doctrine of executive power arose and how it has developed to the present day. Although there were various… More
  • “John Locke and the Theological Foundation of Liberal Toleration”

    - Joshua Mitchell, “John Locke and the Theological Foundation of Liberal Toleration,” Review of Politics 52 (1990), 64-83.
    Locke’s doctrine of toleration is best understood in the context of his larger argument about the political significance of Christ. Christ, Locke argues, separated the spiritual and political realm. His argument for separating the two realms, his basis… More
  • The Liberal Tradition in America

    - Louis Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America (New York: Mariner Books, 1991).
    Hartz’s influential interpretation of american political thought since the Revolution. He contends that America gave rise to a new concept of a liberal society, a “liberal tradition” that has been central to our experience of events both at home and… More
  • Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality

    - Peter C. Myers, Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality (Lexington, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999)
    In Our Only Star and Compass: Locke and the Struggle for Political Rationality, Peter C. Myers reexamines the role of Locke in liberal political philosophy. Myers considers Locke’s philosophy in relation both to contemporary liberalism and to the great… More
  • “John Locke and the Foundations of Toleration”

    - Nathan Tarcov, "John Locke and the Foundations of Toleration," in Early Modern Skepticism and the Origins of Toleration, ed. Alan Levine (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 1999).
    Excerpt: “There is another sense in which Locke is an advocate for more than toleration… If toleration is taken, as it is historically with reference to the controversies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as meaning specifically… More
  • “Natural Law, Theology, and Morality in Locke”

    - Steven Forde, "Natural Law, Theology, and Morality in Locke," American Journal of Political Science, 45 (2001), 396-409.
    Liberal theorists have always been confronted with the criticism that liberalism lacks a moral foundation adequate to the needs of society. I undertake a reading of Locke that agrees with those scholars who have found greater moral resources in his philosophy… More
  • Launching Liberalism: On Lockean Political Philosophy

    - Michael Zuckert, Launching Liberalism: On Lockean Political Philosophy (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2002).
    In this volume, prominent political theorist Michael Zuckert presents an important and pathbreaking set of meditations on the thought of John Locke. In more than a dozen provocative essays, many appearing in print for the first time, Zuckert explores the… More
  • “What Does Locke Expect Us to Know?” by Steven Forde

    - Steven Forde, "What Does Locke Expect Us to Know?" Review of Politics, 68  (2006), 232-258.
    Locke claims that his moral and political teaching is capable of a fully rational demonstration. It would seem then that Lockean citizens are expected to grasp the rational bases of their regime. But Locke was notoriously vague or incomplete on what the… More
  • The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke

    - C.B. MacPherson, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962).
    This seminal work by political philosopher C.B. Macpherson was first published by the Clarendon Press in 1962, and remains of key importance to the study of liberal-democratic theory half-a-century later. In it, Macpherson argues that the chief difficulty of… More
  • John Locke: Problems and Perspectives

    - John Locke: Problems and Perspectives, ed. John Yolton (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
    Originally published in 1969, the impetus for this collection came from a conference on the Thought of John Locke held at York University, Toronto in 1966. Written in the co-operative spirit of the conference, the essays collected here were intended to… More
  • Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought

    - Scott Yenor, Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought, Baylor University Press, 2012.
    From the publisher: With crisp prose and intellectual fairness, Family Politics traces the treatment of the family in the philosophies of leading political thinkers of the modern world. What is family? What is marriage? In an effort to address contemporary… More


  • Steven Smith: Lectures on the Second Treatise

    - Steven Smith, "Introduction to Political Philosophy," Yale Open Courses, Autumn 2006.
    Professor Steven Smith’s lectures on Locke’s Second Treatise from Yale’s “Introduction to Political Philosophy,” available through Yale Open Courses. Autumn 2006. Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise (1-5)… More