Though I have said above (2) “That all men by nature are equal,” I cannot be supposed to understand all sorts of “equality.” Age or virtue may give men a just precedency. Excellency of parts and merit may place others above a common level. Birth may subject some, and alliance or benefits others, to pay an observance to those to whom Nature, gratitude, or other respects, may have made it due (paragraph 54)
I chose this passage because it confused me why Locke mentions how there are inequalities in the world after arguing that everyone is equal throughout the document. After reading this, I went back to the notes from Thursday’s lecture and focused on this as a response to Filmer’s take on how the monarchy has a divine right. Locke is trying to convince his audience that the monarchy does not have a divine right and that everyone is equal; however, he needs his audience to resonate with what he is saying. They are more likely to listen to what he is saying if he admits there are inequalities because we see them everyday.
I believe Locke is trying to appeal to more people in this passage by acknowledging that everyone is different. If he went this whole document without saying this, many people would dismiss the “equality” he mentions because we do not see it in everyday life. He included this to show how there is not equality in the world, but there should be in a state of nature. One question this passage addresses is, “Why are societies terrible at creating equality?” There is inequality everywhere in this world, and Locke mentions some reasons including birth and age. However, he does not mention the many more reasons to why there are inequalities.