Social Philosophy and Policy 22 (1):1-26 (2005)

Paul Anthony Rahe
Hillsdale College
When Benjamin Franklin suggested that man is by nature a tool-making animal, he summed up what was for his fellow Americans the common sense of the matter. It is not, then, surprising that, when Britain's colonists in North America broke with the mother country over the issue of an unrepresentative parliament's right to tax and govern the colonies, they defended their right to the property they owned on the ground that it was in a most thorough-going sense an extension of themselves: the fruits of their own labor. This understanding they learned from John Locke, who based the argument of his Two Treatises of Government on the unorthodox account of providence and of man's place within the natural world that Sir Francis Bacon had been the first to articulate. All of this helps explain why the framers of the American constitution included within it a clause giving sanction to property in ideas of practical use.
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DOI 10.1017/s0265052505041014
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