The Influence of John Locke
John Locke was someone more than just an ordinary man. He was the son of a
country attorney and born on August 29, 1632. He grew up during the civil war and later
entered the Church of Christ, Oxford, where he remained as a student and teacher for
many years. (Rivitch 23) With a wide variety of political and religious views, he
expressed most of his personnel views on education and social and political
philosophies. Once he noted the five lasting pleasures throughout his career were health,
good news, knowledge, doing good, and eternal paradise. Many of his views both
political and religious were found to be famous throughout history in many countries.
Locke was one of the first people that thought religion and state should be separated.
(Jenkins 123) Locke considered the formation of government from man's own nature,
whether or not government is formed because man is a social animal or if government is
formed to preserve society. According to Locke, man must not think that all government
in the world is the product only of force and violence, and that men live together by no
other rules but that of beasts. Locke also felt that to understand political power right, and
derive it from its origin. We must also consider what state all men are naturally in, and
that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions
and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature.
Locke later published anonymously his Two Treaties of Government, and the essay
Concerning Human Understanding. These writings were immediately successful and
they both exerted a vast of influence. Between the both of these works, they made the
dominant view of English thought through the greater part of the eighteenth century.
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John Locke's Two Treatises of Government (1690) was a well-known and respected
document. In the paper, he attacked the theory of diving right of kings and the nature of
the state as conceived by the English philosopher and political theorist Thomas Hobbes.
He did not believe that a king should become king because "God told him to be", but
rather, because he was qualified for the position, and also because the people felt he
should be there. Locke argued that sovereignty did not reside in the state, but with the
people, and that the state is supreme, but only if it is bound by civil and what Locke
referred to a "natural" law. (Squadrito 43) Many of these thoughts were later embodied
in the constitution. Some of these ideas, such as those relating to natural rights, property
rights, the duty of the government to protect these rights and the rule of the majority are
used in many places to this day. He also believed that man by his nature had certain
inalienable rights and duties. (Rivitch12) These rights included life, liberty, and
ownership of property. By liberty, Locke meant political equality. The task and duty of
the government of any state was to protect mans rights. Locke believes that the
government should protect human rights better than individuals could on there own, and
if it didn't adequately protect the rights of the citizens, then they had the right to find
other rulers. (Squadrito 34)
Locke also said that the government should be split up. There should be three
branches, the legislative, executive, and the judicial. He said that revolution was not only
a right but often an obligation, and he advocated a system of checks and balances in the
government from these three branches. He said that the legislative should be the most...
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