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October 15, 2012
John Locke’s Political Influence
John Locke is among the most influential political philosophers of the modern period. One can easily see his tremendous influence on democracies throughout the world, especially the United States, today. Locke was born during 1632 in Somerset, England. He was the son of a Puritan lawyer who fought with the Parliamentarians against the King in the English Civil War. At the age of 14, Locke attended Westminster School; and later went on to study at Oxford University. At the age of 43, Locke had traveled to France, where he would stay for four years to study Descartes and other great minds of the age. Locke then moved to Holland in 1683 amongst political unrest in England, which made living there dangerous for him. There he joined other English political exiles in a plot to overthrow King James II, which succeeded, resulting in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the flee of the King. By this time in the late 1680s-mid 1690s, Locke’s most influential philosophical works were published. From these works, Locke has been considered the Father of Classical Liberalism.
Classic liberalism advocates civil liberties and political freedom with representative government. During the time of Locke, most people believed that fundamental rights came from government. People thought that they only had rights based upon what government chose to give them. John Locke’s most famous political work, The Second Treatise of Government, argued the opposite though. Some of the main themes outlined in the book include the State of Nature, Property, and Representative Government.
Lock describes the State of Nature as:
"To properly understand political power and trace its origins, we must consider the state that all people are in naturally. That is a state of perfect freedom of acting and disposing of their own possessions and persons as they think fit within the bounds of the law of...
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