John LockeJohn Locke, (1632-1704) English philosopher and political theorist

John Locke Quote

“Government has no other end than the preservation of property.”

John LockeJohn Locke
~ John Locke

Ratings and Comments

E Archer, NYC

Interesting notion -- my body is my property, my rights are my property, my signature, my word, my mind, my name, all are my property, my life, my liberty are my property... I would say it is government's purpose to protect my rights and freedom. But not all 'claims' to 'property' (i.e. "hey, you, that's mine") are true and thus not to be 'protected.' Nor is it government's purpose to protect me from myself.

Mike, Norwalk

Said well Archer, further: my servant representative can not tell me what I can do with my property as long as it does not interfere with other's property.

helorat, Milton

Stretching Archer... the quote makes no use of the word claim. The main purpose of government is to protect us from external violence, which usually aimed at our property. Among your rights are property rights which the government is charged to protect from both internal and external threat. Private property ownership is the foundation of our concept of freedom.

Bruce, Alabama

Why do I find that on the contrary my private property is an albatross around my neck. Grass cuttin', paintin' blah blah blah. The onliest time I feel free is when I am away from it on the open road or sea. I don't fully understand the nexus of property ownership and freedom. I think property ownership and wealth gives us power, power over our lives and potentially over the lives of others. Maybe wealth is a source of freedom but wealth and property are matters of degree. There are wealthy people in the poorest countries. Not wealthy like Americans but wealthy compared to those around them. Socrates said however "Wealth is not owning things it is the ability to use things." I never feel wealthier or freer and I repeat myself but on the top of a mountain or in a National Forest and yet I don't own an inch of it. What is the saying "the best things in life are free." Hope you are all well this evening. Mike if by servant representative you are referring to elected legislators I am confused by that phraseology. They do not take direct commands from you which the word "servant" would seem to suggest.

Mike, Norwalk

lol Bruce, you caught me. Neither servant or representative take (or should take) personal direction from me. It was simply redundancy for effect.

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Anonymous    8/24/07

Pretty limp quote. Preservation of a system of government that protects property from outside forces, yes. But not to protect property from it's owner. That just gives the Government a claim to everything. Hey, wait a minute!! They DO claim just that these days if you own something that they want!!! Silly me.

Anonymous, Victoria

This is the Republican philosophy baldly stated. They see the role of goverment is to help the wealthy hang onto their wealth, (or increase it), period. It is an elitist sentiment.

cal, lewisville, tx

We think our money is OUR property, but it says on it "Federal Reserve Note" which means it is the property of the federal government. Burn one of these notes in front of an official and see if you don't get arrested.

jim k, austin

Perhaps the quote would better read, "government should have no other end than the preservation of property". Our government seems bound and determined to confiscate as much private property as possible.

Anonymous, Reston, VA, US

Thankfully our founders understood that there is much more to preserve than material things... though perhaps that had something to do with the fact that many of them were filthy rich:

warren, olathe

This is hard to rate. I agree and disagree. I like the stay outa my business part of the statement. If you read it to mean that Property can be a lot of things other than the physical, it works well.

J Carlton, Calgary

The quote comes close. Government is in place to protect rights (not grant them) and one of those rights is the right to property. The right from which all moral law is derived.

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RBESRQ    6/25/09

Try not paying your property taxes and then see who owns property - I'm always reminded when I read stuff like this of the Whistling road sweeper. Good one Bruce. Property is just another shackle, another encumbrance, another debt - in the end its dust to dust. As Peter Hawkien remarked, 'In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe.'

Logan, Memphis, TN

With the death of allodial freehold (politically and within the social thought), Locke's statement is completely misunderstood...

J Carlton, Calgary

"Try not paying your property taxes and then see who owns property"....Exactly Right. Which one of the major symptoms of why the whole system is inherently evil in its present form. How can you possibly have a system of justice without property rights? You can't...but you can have a system of "Laws."

Logan, Memphis, TN

Any system that doesn't allow for property free-and-clear is no system that has de jure "law".

David Macfarlane, St Pete

I think this is right and our government has gone way beyond this.

Current, Pretoria

The freedom then of Man and the liberty to act according to their own will is grounded on the having reason which is able to intruct them on the laws they have to govern themselves by and make them know with how much are they left to the freedom of their own will. John Locke

Current Mkhabele, Pretoria

Twenty faults are sooner to be forgiven than the strainning of truth to cover anyone by an excuse. John Locke.

Current Mkhabele, Pretoria

For laws are of no force without penalties, and penalties are absolutely in this case impertinent as they are not proper to convince the mind. John Locke.

Current Mkhabele, Pretoria

The true remedy of force without authority is to oppose to it, the use of force without authority put him that uses in the state of war and regarded as the aggressor, and renders him liable to be treated accordingly. John Locke

Current Mkhabele, Pretoria

Those who by any injustice offended will seldom fail where they are able by force to make good their injustice. John Locke

vocalpatriot, east Falmouth, Ma.

Is it true that the reason the term property was not put into the declaration of independance was due to the desire to avoid giving too much creedance to a slave being protected "property"??


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