To understand political power correctly and derive it from its proper source, we must consider what state all men are naturally in. It is a state in which men are perfectly free to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and themselves, in any way they like, without asking anyone else’s permission – all this subject only to limits set by the law of nature. It is also a state of equality, in which no-one has more power and authority than anyone else; because it is simply obvious that creatures of the same species and status, all born to all the same advantages of nature and to the use of the same abilities, should also be equal ·in other ways·, with no-one being subjected to or subordinate to anyone else, unless ·God·, the lord and master of them all, were to declare clearly and explicitly his wish that some one person be raised above the others and given an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.
The latest of Jonathan Bennett’s renderings of the classics of early modern philosophy into modern English is now out on the web: the Second Treatise of Government . In my experience it is a work that students find especially opaque in the original, much as I love the archaic language. (Sceptics might be interested to read Bennett’s rationale for his project.)