Tuesday, October 04, 2005


"Locke is convinced that the legislative branch ought to remain under some sort of democratic control, but not so the executive branch."

Assuming this statement is true (and it is, trust me), why?

Post your best theory below. We'll discuss Thurs.


At 8:56 AM, Blogger Bryan said...

I believe that Locke felt this way due to the nature of governance. By knowing what people in particular regions desire and allowing legislation to balance the needs or desires of the people in those regions allowing national decisions to be made by the executive branch. This branch is better managed by people with the experience found in governing large bodies of people. Sometimes the best decisions are not the most popular.

At 12:13 PM, Blogger JennyNichols said...

Locke said that no person except the Magistrate should have the power to use force against another person. He also said that the society has a lot of trust in the executive branch that it will follow and enforce the rules of the legislative branch. Therefore it is very important that the rules and laws being created by the legislative branch, which the executive branch is following, will be created in a democratic manor, so as to satisfy the desires of the general public.
Jenny Nichols

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Brennan Stanfield said...

I believe that Locke felt that as long as there was nobody with absolute power everything would be fair to the people. Whoever is in the executive branch is seen as more of a figure to follow rather than an actual legislator. Yes it is true that Presidents and Monarchs and such have agendas, but Locke noticed that if the legislators were elected by the people then the figure-heads agenda can only go as far as the legislators will allow it.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Wayne said...

Since man in his State of Nature has a law to govern him, man removed from the State of Nature must still have a law to govern him. When man is completely a part the State of Nature he has no more or no less freedoms, rights, or faculties than any other, and the only way to remove himself from the State of Nature is to create a governing system of politics. The only way to create a system of government is to entrust the rights and liberties granted by Nature to a governing body or monarch, under the circumstances that no else should have more or less freedoms unless expressly stated by that governing body. And though man may elect representatives democratically to manage his interests in the lawmaking process, these laws are useless without a sole Executor to put them to work.
Basically, I think his point of view here is that there needs to be someone to guide the ship, and this person needs to have their own degree of sovereign power to properly exercise their duties. The world has been run hierarchically for so long now that it is hard to imagine an efficient running ANYTHING with a democratically controlled Executor. It's just like the saying, "there's too many cooks in the kitchen." Someone needs to be the director.

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Nate MacDonald said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Nate MacDonald said...

I believe that Locke felt that the legislative branch was the branch that created the laws. The executive branch was more of an enforcer. It did not matter who the enforcer was as long as the people making the laws were representing the people of the country.

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Sherri Tucker said...

Locke states:"What I have said here, concerning the legislative in general, holds true also concerning the supreme executive, who having a double trust put in him, both to have a part in the legislature, and the supreme executor of the law, acts against both, when he goes about to set up his own arbitrary will as the law of the society" (92) Locke believed the legislative branch's only obligation was representation of the people's voice, whereas the executive branch had other obligations that interfered with democratic representation.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Nicole Groves said...

I agree with Nate that Locke probably thought that the executive need only enforce laws, not make them. Thus it doesn’t really matter who he is as long as he enforces the laws and doesn’t bring the legislators to his will (p.92).

I also think part of why Locke thinks this is because of the classical republican tradition. The supplementary text book authors write about how the main idea of republicanism was that it be a balance of the three types of rule: by one, by a few, by the many (p. 23), and how the Americans had little qualms with the English government as it stood with a hereditary monarch, they just didn’t like it how the power was becoming concentrated (p.32).

The legislative branch is to represent “the many.” The executive therefore need not be representative of the many, for he fills the role of “the one.” Locke seems to me to have been thinking of this is because of how he writes about the legislators. They are the ones whom the people chose to represent their property and desires, because only the representatives, knowing and living amongst their constituents, can know their needs and thus vote accordingly (p. 92). The executive cannot truly know that for them, so it does not really matter how he (she) gained that position, only that he does not abuse it too thoroughly.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger aria said...

I'm still kind of confused as to how Locke could be so concerned with having proper representation of the people being governed and then not care whether the person with the most power was elected. It seems like kind of a oxymoron. I agree that he obviously thinks there needs to be someone to be able to stand up and take charge. I also think the reason why Locke didn't seem to concerned was that even if this person was crazy then there would be a democratic force strong enough to at least counter-balance what they didn't agree with.

At 1:17 AM, Blogger Jesse said...

I believe that the executive branch of government fits more as a figure head for a nation than the legislative branch. The people should confide in his decisions because he is the leader. The legislation though, has more of a customer service oriented job. Their job is not to be admired or feared, their job is to lead and administrate the way people see fit, and havoc is much less likely to ensue if a member of a legislation is replaced. To make sense of this for myself, I like to think of Britains form of government. The party in control of the UK runs the nation, while the Queen is their to wear her crown, wave her hand, and tap Paul McCartney on the shoulder with a sorwd.

At 6:43 AM, Blogger Anna said...

By being directly under democratic control the legislative branch must always be aware of the sentiment and needs of the people or risk being voted out. Having an executive branch created from the legislative still reflects the will of the people in that those choosing the executive were approved of by the voters, while simultaneously providing the executive with a slight buffer from the tides of popular sentiment – and hopefully, the legislative branch would be less likely to choose the executive based on the outcome of one debate, photo-op, or whether the candidate correctly remembers the name of the local football stadium – gravely important though that may seem to some.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger risaTochihara said...

If the Legislative branch remains under a democratic control then the executive branch need not to. As long as the legislative branch fulfills the duty that it has to the people, so to will the executive have to.
"...by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who. have a right to resume their original liberty,... What I have said here,...holds true also concerning the supreme executor, who having a double trust put in him, both to have a part in the legislative, and the supreme execution of the law, acts against both, when he goes about to set up his own arbitrary will as the law of the society." (222)

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Rebka Mitiku said...

I think it is because Locke believed that the legislative branch was all that was necessary to create and enforce laws. He felt that having the executive branch would have been seen more as a ruling authority than anything else. He felt that the legislative branch was there to represent the people.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Eugene Sasaki said...

There is a very wide gap between the general consensus and the narrow, specific ideals. The legislative branch would need to be under democratic control because it would provide laws that would represent the consensus of the people. The executive branch is more narrow when it comes to the decisions it makes.

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