At first, one may be confused to read Section 159 of John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government because it is somewhat contradictory to the rest of the paper. The purpose of the paper as a whole was to criticize monarchial government and suggest a completely new form of government to take its place. In section 159 John Locke suggests a “moderated monarchy.” The monarchy would be limited in terms of political power though, which actually is a reasonable spring board to start from when considering the time period.
Locke recognizes that the government requires limitations. The Prerogative is the name of the chapter containing this section and it perfectly encompasses this idea. The monarch would obviously have the executive power and ability to change laws with the changing society. This fits in with the prerogative because though the monarch would have executive power, the government would also maintain checks and balances to check this power. A system of checks and balances maintains the government concern for the common welfare of all citizens. Though the executive branch would have a great deal of power, it is checked by another branch of government according to Locke, the legislative branch of government.
Although Locke claims to be very anti monarch, he is not. He is simply anti the current form of monarchy at that time. Locke’s ideas were truly visionary considering nothing had been in place under these terms before. Locke pioneered the pathway, which led to the US government as it stands today. Some of the core ideas Locke presented remain core ideas in the United States government. Although Locke’s ideas were innovative, they were nothing shy of a moderated monarchy. Locke’s idea of government was not actually a new form of government, simply a moderated one, proved in his section 159.