Milton Konvitz American Ideals Lectures

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Professor Konvitz states that John Locke was one of the most influential political philosophers of the last two centuries. Locke’s writings were the intellectual basis for many of the ideas embodied in the American Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Locke’s Second Treatise on Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration form the intellectual link between ancient, classical political thought and constitutionalism and modern democratic thought. More and Locke agree that man is created by God and has the laws of nature to govern him. More takes man out of the state of nature and places him in a governed group with a civil order. Locke describes man in the state of nature as living according to reason without civil society. According to Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan, man in a state of nature is in a state of war of all against all. Without government, Hobbes postulates, man is a beast.

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