John Locke, Carolina, and the "two treatises of government"

Political Theory 32 (5):602-627 (2004)
Recent scholarship on John Locke's "Two Treatises of Government" has drawn particular attention to the colonial antecedents and applications of the theory of appropriation in chapter V of the Second Treatise. This attention has coincided with a more general interest among political theorists in the historical and theoretical relationship between liberalism and colonialism. This essay reviews the surviving evidence for Locke's knowledge of the Carolina colony and argues that it was both more extensive and more enduring than previous commentators have suggested. In particular, the essay provides evidence that Locke was engaged in revising the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina at just the moment in the summer of 1682 when he was most likely to have composed chapter V of the Second Treatise and hence that there was an immediate and identifiable colonial context that contributed to his distinctive theory of property
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DOI 10.1177/0090591704267122
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