In the Second Treatise of Government by John Locke, he writes about the right to private property. In the chapter which is titled “Of Property” he tells how the right to private property originated, the role it plays in the state of nature, the limitations that are set on the rights of private property, the role the invention of money played in property rights and the role property rights play after the establishment of government.. In this chapter Locke makes significant points about private property. In this paper I will summarize his analysis of the right to private property, and I will give my opinion on some of the points Locke makes in his book.
According to Locke, the right to private property originated when God gave the world to men. Locke makes the argument that when God created the world for man, he gave man reason to make use of the world to the best advantage of life, and convenience. What he means by that is, that God made this world for man, and when he made it he gave man the right to use what is in this world to his benefit. Locke explains that every man has property in his own person, and that nobody has any right to that property but that person.
The author states that “whatsoever then he removes out of the state of nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property (Locke pg. 19)”. What Locke means by that statement is that once a person removes something out of its original state of nature that something becomes that persons property. After someone gains this property are there any limitations on that property? Locke believes that there are limitations on that property. Locke believes that God has given us all things richly, and that man may use those things as long as he takes what he needs.
Men can have property as long as they obtained it rightfully, and as long as they use discretion. If those limitations were overlooked when the person was getting the property the property was not obtained rightfully. In the chapter the rights of property, Locke tells the role that the invention of money plays in property rights. Money was invented because people were abusing their property rights. With the creation of money things were given value, and this invention prevented people from taking more than they could afford. Money was an invention that men could keep without spoiling. Men could exchange money for truly useful, but perishable supports of life.
This invention plays a big role in the property rights. Now that there is money people have to use that money to get what they need instead of taking whatever they want as was the case before the invention of money. According to Locke, individual property rights change after government was established. He believes that in governments, the laws regulate the right of property, and the possession of land is determined by positive constitutions.
Before the establishment of government Americans had the rights to property as long as they used it before it spoiled, and as long as they didn’t take more than they needed, and as long as they obtained it rightfully. After government, there were laws and restrictions pertaining to property. These laws and restrictions were established to secure protection of those who had property. I believe that some of Locke’s views on the rights to private property are right. I agree with his thoughts of the way property rights originated, the limitations he said were placed on property rights, and his thoughts of why money was invented.
I also agree with his take on the role property rights played after government was established. I think that government plays a very important part in the protection of property. Without the laws that are made by the government there would be many problems with property rights. People still have the right to have any property they want as long as they can afford it and as long as it is obtained properly. The points that Locke makes in the chapter Of property are very important and pertain to North American society today. I feel that he was extremely accurate in some of his views and he is an important figure in world history.