John Locke's Influence on United States Government

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Political philosophy, United States Constitution Pages: 2 (396 words) Published: January 23, 2012
John Locke and American Government
John Locke is one of the most influential writers and political philosophers in history. On top of that he is most likely the most influential in the forming of the American constitution. Many of the ideas that Locke had formed were used in the creation of the United States Constitution. He left an abundance of thoughts and ideas on human understanding, religion, economics, and politics that still influence the structure, environment, and operation of public administration today.

One of Locke’s most noted ideas is his concept of the separation of powers. This concept was the most influential on the structure of American government. The idea behind it was to make sure that no branch of government would attain too much power. This was done through a system of checks and balances in which each branch of government had the power to override another branch in case they did something wrong. The affect this had on American government created the structure that we see today between the Judicial, Legislative, and executive branches.

Another one is very well known ideas was the idea of natural rights. The natural rights were rights that every citizen had obtained upon being born. These rights included life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Locke had said that these rights should never be able to be taken away by the government. He believed that it was the government’s job to protect these rights of the citizens instead of take them away.

Locke had also believed in the consent of the governed. He believed that a group of people could not be governed unless they given consent to the government. Through this he questioned whether monarchy is legitimate if it is not chosen by the people. This led to the idea known as the social contract, in which the government protected the people’s natural rights in exchange for the people’s consent to be governed. John Locke himself had said, “every man being, as has been should,...
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