Tag: Natural Law

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

Other Works

  • Essays on the Law of Nature

    - Recommended edition: Political Essays, ed. Mark Goldie (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 79-133.
    Excerpt: Since God shows Himself to us as present everywhere and, as it were, forces Himself upon the eyes of men as much in the fixed course of nature now as by the  frequent evidence of miracles in time past, I assume there will be no one to deny the… More


  • Natural Right and History

    - Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953).
    In this classic work, Leo Strauss examines the problem of natural right and argues that there is a firm foundation in reality for the distinction between right and wrong in ethics and politics. On the centenary of Strauss’s birth, and the fiftieth… More
  • “John Locke and Natural Law”

    - W. von Leyden, "John Locke and Natural Law," Philosophy 31 (1956), 23-35
    Excerpt: The law of nature as it occurs in Locke’s philosophy is not the same as one of Galileo’s or Newton’s so-called laws of nature: it is not concerned with physical phenomena, their motion or regularity. In the sense in which Locke uses… More
  • “John Locke as ‘Authoritarian'”

    - Leo Strauss, "John Locke as 'Authoritarian,'" review of John Locke: Two Tracts on Government, by Philip Abrams, Intercollegiate Review, Vol. 4, No. 1 (November-December 1967).
    Excerpt: The question regarding the Hobbianism of the young Locke may be said to be of sonic importance with a view to the fundamental question regarding the political philosophy of the mature or old Locke, to the question which would have to be stated as… More
  • The Political Thought of John Locke

    - John Dunn, The Political Thought of John Locke (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969).
    This study provides a comprehensive reinterpretation of the meaning of Locke’s political thought. John Dunn restores Locke’s ideas to their exact context, and so stresses the historical question of what Locke in the Two Treatises of Government was… More
  • A Discourse on Property: John Locke and His Adversaries

    - James Tully, A Discourse on Property: John Locke and His Adversaries (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1980).
    John Locke’s theory of property is perhaps the most distinctive and the most influential aspect of his political theory. In this book James Tully uses an hermeneutical and analytical approach to offer a revolutionary revision of early modern theories of… More
  • “Locke’s Doctrine of Natural Law” by Leo Strauss

    - Leo Strauss, "Locke's Doctrine of Natural Law" in What is Political Philosophy? And Other Studies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959), 197-220.
    Excerpt: Locke’s notion of natural right appears to be much closer to the traditional view as restated by Hooker than to the revolutionary view of Hobbes. Closer inspection would show that this appearance is deceptive and must be traced to Locke’s… 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
  • “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
  • Was Leo Strauss Wrong About John Locke?

    - James R. Stoner, Jr., "Was Leo Strauss Wrong About John Locke," Claremont Review of Books (December 2002).
    Excerpt: Was Leo Strauss wrong about John Locke?  Surely that he was has been the consensus among historians of political thought, though their reasons are sometimes at variance.  The Cambridge school, influenced by the work of John Dunn, interprets… More
  • “Nature and Happiness in Locke”

    - Thomas West, “Nature and Happiness in Locke” in The Claremont Review of Books, 19 Apr 2004.
    Excerpt: Contrary to Zuckert, I agree with Strauss that Locke’s doctrine of natural law is not a moral doctrine in the strict sense, because Locke is unable to establish by mere reason the fact of a moral obligation, that is, a lawgiver who promulgates… More
  • “Mixed Modes in John Locke’s Moral and Political Philosophy”

    - Steven Forde, "'Mixed Modes' in John Locke's Moral and Political Philosophy," Review of Politics 4 (2011), 581-608.
    The moral theory of “mixed modes” John Locke presents in his Essay concerning Human Understanding is beset with paradoxes. On the one hand, he tells us that all mixed modes, including moral concepts, are “arbitrary” mental constructs.… 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
  • Thomas West and Steven Forde: John Locke on the Foundations of Natural Law and Natural Right

    - Thomas West and Steven Forde, "John Locke on the Foundations of Natural Law and Natural Right," for the Braniff Graduate Salon, October 17, 2008
    Public discussion with Dr. Thomas West and Dr. Steven Forde of University of North Texas on “John Locke on the Foundations of Natural Law and Natural Right,” for the Braniff Graduate Salon, sponsored by the students of Braniff Graduate School,… More