Second Treatise on Government

Second Treatise on Government

Responding to the argument by William Barclay that the commonwealth can respond to tyranny “but must not for any provocation exceed the bounds of due reverence and respect” (part 233–i.e., no violent revolts), Locke writes:

“How to resist force without striking again, or how to strike with reverence, will need some skill to make intelligible. . . . He therefore who may resist, must be allowed to strike. And then let our author [Barclay], or anybody else, join a knock on the head, or a cut on the face, with as much reverence and respect as he thinks fit. He that can reconcile blows and reverence, may, for aught I know, deserve for his pains a civil, respectful cudgelling, wherever he can meet with it.” (part 235)


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