Philosophy

Articles

Locke on Punishment and the Death Penalty

Brian Calverta1

a1 University of Guelph

At the end of the opening chapter of his Second Treatise of Government, Locke describes political power in the following terms: ‘Political Power then I take to be a Right of making Laws with Penalties of Death, and consequently all less Penalties, for the Regulating and Preserving of Property, and of employing the force of the Community, in the Execution of such Laws, and in the defence of the Common-wealth from Foreign Injury, and all this only for the Publick Good.’