"A FORMATIVE INFLUENCE ON THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE AND OF THE EARLY STATE CONSTITUTIONS": IMPORTANT 1698 EDITION OF LOCKE'S TWO TREATISES OF GOVERNMENT
LOCKE, John. Two Treatises of Government. London: Printed for Awnsham and John Churchill, 1698. Octavo, contemporary dark brown paneled calf, raised bands. $16,500.
Third edition of Locke's classic Two Treatises of Government—"credited with great influence on American constitutionalism"—an excellent copy in contemporary paneled calf.
"In Two Treatises on Government… John Locke developed what he considered the 'true original, extent and end of civil government.' The First Treatise was devoted to a refutation of the theory of divine right monarchy expounded by Sir Robert Filmer in his Patriarcha, published in 1680. In his Second Treatise, Locke presented his positive views on the origins of the social order. Civil society and government, Locke argued, were founded on an original social compact entered into by autonomous individuals in a state of nature. The powers of government, Locke contended, were limited by the authority granted by the free consent of the individuals subscribing to the social compact. Locke's Second Treatise has been credited with great influence on American constitutionalism… Locke had a profound impact… on the theoretical basis for forming new governments… Locke had a formative influence on the principles of the Declaration of Independence and of the early state constitutions" (A Covenanted People 37). "The Second Treatise contains a plain statement of the principles of democracy. In an age and country in which the practice of democracy had just been triumphantly vindicated, Locke's theories… had all the freshness of novelty… civil rulers hold their power not absolutely but conditionally; government being essentially a moral trust, which lapses if the trustees fail to maintain their side of the contract."
Locke's Treatises on Government "provide a classic example of the empirical approach to social and political economy which has remained ever since the basis of the principles of democracy" (PMM 163). In particular, "Locke underpinned all of Jefferson's political thought" (Randall, 205). First issued in 1690 from the same publishers in an almost unobtainable edition; the 1694 second edition is also difficult to find. Text complete: leaves Aa and Aa2 bound in reverse order; both cancellans and cancellandum leaves L6 are present, the latter in place, the former (mis)bound in signature Aa; with cancellans D4. Bound without rear blank. Yolton 31. Goldsmiths' 3546. Wing L2768. ESTC R868. Pforzheimer 613. Sweet & Maxwell I:610.52. Palgrave II:634. See Lowndes, 2198. Evidence of bookplate.
Interior generally clean; page 136 with a faint impression, still legible. Expert restoration to joints and extremities. An exceptionally good copy, scarce and desirable in expertly restored contemporary calf.