The First Treatise of Government
The First Treatise is an extended attack on Sir Robert Filmer's Patriarcha. Locke's argument proceeds along two lines: first, he undercuts the Scriptural support that Filmer had offered for his thesis, and second he argues that the acceptance of Filmer's thesis can lead only to slavery (and absurdity). Locke chose Filmer as his target, he says, because of his reputation and because he "carried this Argument farthest, and is supposed to have brought it to perfection".
Two Treatises of Government, a work of political philosophy by John Locke, attacks patriarchalism in the form of sentence-by-sentence refutation of Robert Filmer's Patriarcha, and outlines Locke's ideas for a more civilized society based on natural rights and contract theory. From this, he goes on to explain the hypothetical rise of property and civilization, in the process explaining that the only legitimate governments are those that have the consent of the people. Therefore, any government that rules without the consent of the people can, in theory, be overthrown.
1. Slavery is so vile and miserable an estate of man, and so directly opposite to the generous temper and courage of our nation; that it is hardly to be conceived, that an Englishman, much less a gentleman, should plead for it. And truly I should have taken Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha as any other treatise, which would persuade all men, that they are slaves, and ought to be so, for such another exercise of wit, as was his who writ the encomium of Nero, rather than for a serious discourse meant in earnest, had not the gravity of the title and epistle, the Picture in the front of the book, and the applause that followed it, required me to believe, that the author and publisher were both in earnest.
- Chapter I The Introduction
- Chapter II Of Paternal and Regal Power
- Chapter III Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty by Creation
- Chapter IV Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty, by Donation
- Chapter V Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty, by the Subjection of Eve.
- Chapter VI Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty by Fatherhood
- Chapter VII Of Fatherhood and Property considered together as Fountains of Sovereignty
- Chapter VIII Of the Conveyance of Adam's sovereigns monarchical Power
- Chapter IX Of Monarchy by Inheritance from Adam
- Chapter X Of the Heir to Adam's Monarchical Power
- Chapter XI Who Heir?