John Locke’s Views On Property Essay, Research Paper
I feel that after reading John Locke’s views on property and also the views of Ward Churchill, that the distribution of property in America as we know it is not legitimate.
We know that according to Locke, something becomes one’s property when it is taken from nature and mixed with ‘labour’ of the body and ‘work’ of the hands. In speaking in terms of land as property, you are only supposed to take what you need while leaving enough for others, and you are also not to let any of the land spoil so you must use it wisely. “As much as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product of, so much is his property” (Locke). God has given the world to all mankind, and as long as man works the land and makes good use of it, it is his property, which another had no title to, nor could without injury take from him”.
The reason why there is a controversy over who the US really ‘belongs’ to is because “…in situations in which the dominant-or dominating- population comprises either the representatives of a foreign power or immigrants (settlers) who can offer no such assertion of ‘aboriginal’ lineage to justify their presences or ownership of property in the usual sense” (Churchill). This is representative of how the land that came to be the United States was taken away from the early Native American settlers many years ago by a dominating population of people.
While the United States has tried to make things better by ‘resolving things internally’ through new doctrines and laws, nothing can make up for the fact that this land is not our land. In the words of Churchill, ‘the United States does not now possess, nor has it ever possessed, a legitimate right to occupancy in at least half the territory it claims as its own on the continent.” He calls the United States and ‘outlaw state’, and compares its legal scholars and its legislators to the Nazi leaders.
I feel that while we are a great country, like everyone else we have made many mistakes over time, and one was taking the land from its rightful settlers. Efforts have been made to do the best in correcting these ‘mistakes’, but nothing will ever fully solve the problem of the property debate in America.