John Locke and the Native Americans: Early English Liberalism and Its Colonial Reality

John Locke and the Native Americans: Early English Liberalism and Its Colonial Reality

by Nagamitsu Miura


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Since the 1990s, the relation between liberalism and colonialism has been one of the most important issues in Locke studies and also in the field of modern political thought. This present work is a unique contribution to discussion of this issue in that it elucidates Locke's concept of the law of nature and his view of war. Locke's law of nature includes, despite its ostensible universal validity, some particular rules which favour the rights of a European form of political society and individualistic land-acquisition at the sacrifice of native traditional land-rights and subsistence. Concerning wars between settlers and the natives, Locke's concept of punishment in state of nature allows the militarily superior side to make a war with the inferior in disregard for the latter's claim and nevertheless, after winning victory, proclaim its own just cause of war. By putting Locke's discourse on colonization and war in the context of contemporary relations between English colonists and the natives, this book makes clear that the expansive element of his theory of property actually overbalanced his rule of limitation of property according to equitableness and that it, after all, undermines the general principles of freedom and equality of all in his law of nature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781443849760
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Pages: 193
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Born in 1938 in Tokyo, Nagamitsu Miura was Professor at Tsuda College in Tokyo until 2007. His publications on philosophy and the history of ideas include The Civil World of John Locke (Tokyo, 1997) and Remembering Japan's War and Colonial Rule (Tokyo, 2010).

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Abbreviations viii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Locke's Law of Nature and its Provisions of Exclusion Regarding the Relations Between English Colonists and Native Americans 12

1 Locke's Liberal Political Thought 12

2 The origin of the law of nature and the way to find it 17

3 General Principles of the Law of Nature 18

4 Particulars of the law of nature 19

5 Locke's Creation of the State of Nature as That of Lack of Political Society 22

6 Provisions of Exclusion in Locke's Law of Nature 25

7 The Condition of Universality of Law 37

Chapter 2 Locke's Argument for Colonization of America and the Native Americans 47

1 On the Colonization in America and Property Right 47

2 Native Society and Its Life 71

Chapter 3 Wars Between English Colonies and Native Americans 75

1 The Native Raids on the Colony of Virginia and the English Reprisals 75

2 Pequot War (1636-1637) 79

3 King Philip's War (see Appendix C on page 155) 83

Chapter 4 Locke's View of War in General and in America 97

1 Contemporary Arguments on the Right of War 97

2 Locke's View of War and Conquest 102

3 Colonial Wars with the Natives and Locke's Theory of War 110

Chapter 5 Slavery in English Colonies and its Legitimacy 119

1 English Slave Trade and Slavery in English Colonies 119

2 Contemporary Arguments on Slavery 120

3 Locke's View of Slavery 123

Chapter 6 The Relation Between Liberalism and Colonialism in Locke 135

Appendices 144

Appendix A Details on the Causes of Conflicts in Virginia 144

Appendix B Details on the Causes of the Pequot War 151

Appendix C Details on the Causes of King Philip's War 155

Appendix D Further Details on the Causes of King Philip's War 159

Notes 164

Bibliography 171

Index 179

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