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The Pretenses of LoyaltyLocke, Liberal Theory, and American Political Theology$
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John Perry

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756544.001.0001

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Locke's Early Work

Locke's Early Work

From Vizor of Religion to Veil of Ignorance

(p.73) 3 Locke's Early Work
The Pretenses of Loyalty

John Perry

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the overlooked early work of John Locke, where Locke opposed religious toleration. This is prefaced by surveying the state of the debate about toleration in Locke's historical context and discusses perspectives put forth by John Calvin, John Milton, and Roger Williams. It examines Locke's “First Tract of Government,” written against the pro-toleration writer Edward Bagshaw. The tract has been largely overlooked, but a close reading reveals that Locke's later arguments for toleration were direct responses to his own arguments against it here. He saw toleration as a threat to peace because he did not see how the state could allow religious freedom without threatening religious believers' loyalty to God (which might, he supposed, require attacking God's opponents).

Keywords:   Locke, First Tract of Government, Bagshaw, Calvin, Milton, Williams, toleration, Waldron

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