John Locke on the rights to life, liberty, and property of ourselves and others (1689)

John Locke

John Locke (1632-1704) argued that the law of nature obliged all human beings not to harm “the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another”:

The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions… (and) when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Thomas Hollis (London: A. Millar et al., 1764). 12/16/2019.