Date of Award


Degree Name

Political Science


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Jamie Warner

Second Advisor

Robert Behrman

Third Advisor

George Davis


The purpose of this paper is to examine the changing nature of the liberal conception of justice using three-strikes legislation as a basis for comparison. It includes a brief examination of the legal debate surrounding three-strikes legislation, as well as comprehensive tables comparing the content of the laws in several states. The preponderance of the paper explores the evolution of the liberal concept of justice in the works of John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill. It concludes with a discussion of contemporary liberal thought on justice, and more specifically, with an examination of the work of John Rawls as it applies to three-strikes legislation.



Locke, John, 1805-1880 - Views on justice.

Bentham, Jeremy, 1748-1832 - Views on justice.

Mill, John Stuart, 1806-1873- Views on justice.

Rawls, John, 1921-2002 - Views on justice.