Western Civilization II, W6/L30 – Oliver Cromwell and John Locke

(1) What was English life like under Oliver Cromwell?

Oliver Cromwell had two main goals. He wanted to restore order after the turmoil from the English Civil War, and he wanted to foster piety and morality among the citizens of England. In order to do this, he governed with Puritan law, instating dress codes, punishing foul language, and banning activities that many people considered “innocent pleasures.” Makeup was outlawed, and people were allowed to only wear modest, plain clothing. Music, theater, sports, and other such activities were banned, and the use of curses and vulgar language was a punishable offense.

(3) On what grounds does Locke believe people can establish a claim to property ownership over a previously unowned good?

    John Locke believed that if one improved upon some unowned land or good, then he could soundly establish ownership over that good. If one came across some unowned land and plowed fields, built fences, and homesteaded on that land, he would have an irrefutable claim to that land.

(4) Why does Locke believe absolute monarchy fails to resolve the “inconveniences” of the state of nature?

    Locke argued that Natural Law had no body of universally recognized laws, no reliable law enforcement, and no unbiased judgement system. He believed that monarchy failed these inconveniences because it has no unbiased judgement system. If you have a dispute with a monarch, it will be settled by a monarch, and therefore settled in his favor, not yours. Locke’s solution to this was a third-party judge, but in today’s day and age, the third-party judge is just as biased as a monarch. Any dispute between you and the government will be settled in the government’s favor.


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