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

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9781443849760: John Locke and the Native Americans: Early English Liberalism and Its Colonial Reality
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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.

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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).

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"Empire's impact on the shaping of modern conceptions of sovereignty, property, autonomy and justice has been one of the great discoveries in the recent historiography of modern political thought. Nagamitsu Miura's economical and suggestive study of Locke and colonialism is a welcome addition to the literature and offers much food for further discussion and debate." - David Armitage, Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History, Chair, Department of History, Harvard University "How is it that John Locke produced a political philosophy of equality and freedom - liberalism - and simultaneously a political philosophy that excluded most people from that sphere - that of colonialism? Miura Nagamitsu is one of the few scholars with the courage to address that vital question head on. Match his courage and read this book!" - C. Douglas Lummis, Lecturer, Okinawa International University, Author, Radical Democracy (Cornell)

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