John Locke (1632-1704) outlined his political and legal doctrine in the work “Two Treatises on Government”.
Locke fully shared the ideas of natural law, social contract, national sovereignty, inalienable personal freedoms, balance of power, legality of the uprising against the tyrant. J. Locke developed these ideas, modified, supplemented with new ones and integrated into the integral political and legal doctrine – the doctrine of early bourgeois liberalism.
This doctrine began with the question of the emergence of the state. According to J. Locke, before the emergence of the state, people were in a natural state. In the pre-state hostel “there is no war of all against all.” Equality prevails, “in which all power and every right is mutual, no one has more than the other.” However, in the natural state there are no organs, a cat. could solve disputes between people impartially, carry out appropriate punishment for those guilty of violating natural laws. All this gives rise to a situation of uncertainty, destabilizing the usual measured life. In order to reliably ensure natural rights, equality and freedom, to protect individuals and property, people agree to form a political society, establish a state. Locke especially emphasizes the moment of agreement: “Every peaceful formation of a state was based on the consent of the people”.
The state is, according to Locke, an aggregate of people who joined together under the auspices of the established general law themselves and created a judicial body competent to settle conflicts between them and punish criminals. The state differs from all other forms of collectivity (families, masters’ possessions) by the fact that only it embodies political power, i.e. the right in the name of the public good to create laws to regulate and preserve property, as well as the right to use the power of society to enforce these laws and protect the state from outside attack.
By building a state voluntarily, listening only to the voice of reason, people very precisely measure that amount of authority, a cat. they are then transferred to the state. There is no question of any complete, total rejection by individuals of all the natural rights and freedoms belonging to them in favor of the state. The right to life and property, freedom and equality, a person does not alienate anyone under any circumstances. These inalienable values are the final frontiers of state power and actions that are ordered to be transgressed.
The purpose of the state, according to Locke, should be the protection of property and the provision of civil interests. With means designed to help achieve this goal, Locke chose legality, the separation of powers, the optimal form of government for the nation, and the people’s right to revolt in connection with the abuse of power.
Locke had high hopes for law and legality. In the common law established by people, recognized by them and allowed by their general agreement as a measure of good and evil for resolving all conflicts, he saw the first constituent state as a sign. The law in the true sense is by no means an unlovely prescription coming from civil society as a whole or from the legislature established by people. The title of a law has only that act, which indicates to a rational being the behavior that corresponds to its own interests and serves the common good. If the prescription does not contain such a norm-directive, it cannot be considered a law. In addition, the law must be inherent stability and long-term action.
Ratuya for the regime of legality, he pated on the following position: whoever specifically possesses the supreme power in the state, he is charged with “administering in accordance with the established permanent law, proclaimed by the people and known to him, and not by means of improvised decrees”. Laws then contribute to the achievement of the “main and great goal” of the state, when everyone knows and fulfills them. In the state, absolutely no one, no body can be removed from subordination to its laws.
The high prestige of the law stems from the fact that he, according to Locke, is a decisive tool for the preservation and expansion of individual freedom, which also guarantees the individual from the arbitrariness and the despotic will of others. “Where there are no laws, there is no freedom there either.” Like all other political institutions, like the state itself, positive laws are created by the will and decision of the majority. Locke explains that everything done by a community is done exclusively with the approval of its members. Any such education must move in one direction, and it is necessary that it “move wherever its great force, which is the consent of the majority”, leads to.
Locke understood perfectly well that there are no such ideal state forms that would be once and for all insured against the danger of degeneration into tyranny of the political system, where there is “the exercise of power besides the right”. When the authorities begin to act, ignoring the right and general consent, bypassing laws properly adopted in the state, then not only the normal administration of the country is disorganized and property becomes defenseless, but the people themselves are enslaved and destroyed. The links of usurpers in such a way to ensure order, peace and peace in the state of Lokk retorted by pointing out that peace desired by tyrants is not peace at all, but a terrible state of violence and robbery, beneficial only to thieves and oppressors.
Regarding the rulers who exercise despotic power over their people, the people have only one opportunity to “appeal to heaven”, to use force against “unjust and illegal force”. According to the law, “the primordial and transcendent of all human laws,” the people “have the right to judge whether they have sufficient reason to turn to heaven.” The sovereignty of the people, according to Locke, ultimately (and this is clearly manifested in crisis situations) is higher, more significant than the sovereignty of the state created by it. If the majority of the people decides to limit the impudence of the rulers who violated the social contract, an armed popular uprising with the goal of returning the state to the path of freedom, law, movement towards the common good will be perfectly legitimate.
Locke’s doctrine of state and law was a classic expression of the ideology of early bourgeois revolutions, with all its strengths and weaknesses. It absorbed many achievements of political and legal knowledge and advanced scientific thought of the 17th century. In it, these achievements were not just collected, but deepened and reworked, taking into account the historical experience, which gave the revolution in England. Thus, they became suitable to respond to the high practical and theoretical demands of the political and legal life of the next, 18th century – the Enlightenment century and the two largest bourgeois revolutions of the new time in the West: French and American.