Thomas Jefferson vs. John Locke

Lydia Roberson 1st


Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence and John Locke's Second Treatise of Government are two of the most leading works of the written word of all time. An extensive amount of countries during the years have used these writings of literature as the foundation for their promulgation of freedom and independence. These two authors set the base for the thought of the State of Nature, which is the infrastructure of our government today.

Are they Similar?

The Declaration of Independence and the Second Treatise of Government are quite akin in their literature and written word, which leads us to believe that Locke had an impact on Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence. It may come as a shock, but Jefferson has been accused over the centuries of using Locke’s written work as his own!

Thomas Jefferson and John Locke

How are they similar?

The most prominent correlation between both works is that they both fully believe that men are all created equal and have the right to obtain happiness. Locke expresses that people have the rights of property, life, and liberty. Jefferson writes this as the unalienable Rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Both pieces of literature say that no one is above or below another, and that they can’t be condescending to anybody. The law of man is not under the rule of another man but governed by the Laws of Nature. They also say that natural rights will not be gone away with because humans are born into this world with rights that are governed by natural laws and not by a government of people. The works are seemingly indistinguishable in describing the rights of Nature.

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The State of Nature

The State of Nature is brought up in both the Declaration of Independence and the Second Treatise of Government . Both authors use it as the structure for their optimal government. Jefferson states that if a set of politics is not working accordingly under the State of Nature, then the people should leave it and begin a new one, because that is what the Laws of Nature designated them. Locke states that the people are free under the State of Nature, but can as well be under a government. But, if the government defies the State of Nature, the government should then be removed.

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