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The last question to answer, then, is whether the division of power is good. Luckily, Locke tackles this issue, arguing that “the inconveniences of absolute power, which monarchy in succession was apt to lay claim to” could never compete with “balancing the power of government, by placing several parts of it in different hands” for in doing so, citizens “neither felt the oppression of tyrannical dominion, nor did the fashion of the age, nor their possessions, or way of living…give them any reason to apprehend or provide against it. For Locke sovereignty is the “supreme power” on loan from the people to the legislative to set laws that look after the public good by dividing duties amongst the executive and other governmental agencies. Power is easily, helpfully, and safely split up into different bodies: easily due to Locke’s dismissal of Hobbes’s contradictory objection to doing so, helpfully because the division of labor allows for increased efficiency and greater productivity, and safely because the division of powers acts as a set of checks and balances to protect the people from arbitrary abuse.Just as it seems that the question Can sovereignty be divided? is answered, a concession of sorts to Hobbes appears with the concept of prerogative, a powerful modification of the way Locke’s theory functions in practice. Locke concedes in Chapter XIV that the natural generality of law makes it inapplicable to certain cases and unable to cover every eventuality. The executive is therefore invested with prerogative, the “power to act according to discretion, for the public good, without the prescription of the law, and sometimes even against it” (Locke 84). It is possible that Hobbes would see this as an admission that Locke’s legislative theory is flawed, that the executive does indeed hold supreme power, as both creator and enforcer of laws. This, however, would be a serious misinterpretation.

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