John Locke Biography

Topics: Political philosophy, John Locke, Liberalism Pages: 5 (544 words) Published: October 17, 2014


Table Of Contents

Page 1: Title
Page 2: Table of Contents
Page 3: Biographical Background and Political Views
Page 4: Connections and Conclusion
Page 5: Bibliography

John Locke was born on August 29, 1632, in Wrington, Somerset, England. He went to the University of Oxford, where he studied medicine. After college he became a philosopher; writing and speaking on topics, such as political philosophy. His father was a country lawyer and was in the military, he served as a captain during the English civil war. John Locke was one of the Whig party founders, this party pushed for constitutional monarchism. He also wrote two books that were published in England; Two Treaties of Government and his Letter Concerning Toleration while he was in exile in Holland, due to a failed assassination attempt on King Charles II and his brother. Two Treatises of Government showed his revolutionary ideas concerning the natural rights of man and the social contract. Both of these concepts stirred waves in England, and impacted the intellectual underpinnings that formed the later American and French revolutions.

John Locke’s liberal political views were very different and were unheard of at the time in Great Britain. He believed that it was wrong for a government to force its subjects to conform to a particular religion. Locke said that religious beliefs are a private concern and that they are not a proper subject for government interference. Locke also believed in natural rights which he usually referred to as, “life, liberty, and property”. He stated that these rights a person may surrender or forfeit by attacking others, but no one can simply take them away. If the government begins to violate these rights by depriving its subjects of life, liberty, and property, then the people have a right to overthrow the government and establish a new one. Locke also believed that people can consent to create and obey only a limited or constitutional government. Locke’s views on practicing religion freely later influenced the creation of the American Declaration of Independence.

Early in his medical studies, Locke met the Earl of Shaftsbury. The two became friends and Shaftsbury soon persuaded Locke to move to London and become his personal physician. As Shaftsbury's power grew, so did Locke's responsibilities. He assisted in his business and political matters and eventually Locke became his secretary of presentations. Shaftsbury had a very heavy influence on Locke’s political career and many of his radical thoughts. Shaftsbury left an outlook on rule and government that stayed with Locke for the rest of his life.

After reading about much of Locke’s life it is easy to see that he was very liberal and believed in the people having powers and freedoms that, at the time, were unheard of. John Locke’s philosophical political ideas and writings have greatly contributed to the freedoms we enjoy today in the Western part of the world.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
John Locke. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 01:12, Sep 21, 2014, fromhttp://www.biography.com/people/john-locke-9384544. Ball, Terence, and Richard Dagger. Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal. 8th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. Print.

Table Of Contents

Page 1: Title
Page 2: Table of Contents
Page 3: Biographical Background and Political Views
Page 4: Connections and Conclusion
Page 5: Bibliography
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