What Government Did John Locke Believe In?

Updated: December 10, 2022
John Locke believed in a government that protected the natural rights of its citizens and that government power should be limited.
Detailed answer:

John Locke believed in a government that represented the people, and he believed that it should protect their rights. He argued that there must be a social contract between all parties involved, including the monarch, any other rulers (e.g., in colonial America, the king and Parliament), and the people. The social contract was based on an agreement for protection of personal rights and private property; Locke argued that without this protection of rights, there could be no such thing as equality. He believed that if a government did not protect these rights, then it forfeited its right to exist in the first place. Locke saw government as a necessary evil—a compromise between the people’s need for protection from each other and from foreign nations and the desire of rulers not to be overthrown. He believed that this compromise was best made by having a limited government, one that did not intrude on the lives of its citizens too much. Locke also felt it was important to consider what kind of government would best serve the common good—and he felt that establishing a republic would accomplish this goal better than any other form of government (such as monarchy or democracy).

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