Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Steven Vanderheiden


Locke held that the People reserve a right of revolution in the case that a government egregiously violates the social contract to such an extent that it renders itself illegitimate. At the time of his writing, revolution was a potentially feasible endeavor insofar as the technological war making capabilities of a citizenry were on, or at least on something close to, equal footing with those of the government. As technology advanced over the following centuries, however, a disparity between the war making capability of advanced states and their citizenry arose, wherein the governments of modern, advanced states gained access to weaponry, tracking capability, and a violence apparatus that far outrivaled the capabilities of the citizenry, in essence rendering Locke’s right of revolution impracticable though the sort of means Locke might have envisioned. Assuming that the People do continue to hold a right of revolution, how can it be reconciled with its own impracticability in the modern era?