Locke vs. Jefferson

Blessing Candice Emefiele

John Locke

John Locke was an English philosopher and a physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. He is also known as The Father of Classical Liberalism.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States.


Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Locke: "A state also of equality....no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…"

This basically talks about equality and how we are all equal with unalienable rights.


Jefferson: "It becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Locke: "Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress the fundamental rule of society and either by ambition, f ear, folly or corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves or put into the hands of any other, and absolute power over the lives, liberties and estates of the people. by this breach of trust they forfrit the powerr the people, who have a right to resume their original liberty, and by establishment a new legislative."

This is saying the government should make it possible for the people to be happy. They should be entitled to life, liberty & property.


Jefferson: "That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

Locke: "John Locke: But if the unlawful acts done by the magistrate be maintained (by the power he has got), and the remedy which is due by law, be by the same power obstructed; yet the right of resisting, even in such manifest acts of tyranny, will not suddenly, or on slight occasions, disturb the government: for if it reach no farther than some private men's cases, though they have a right to defend themselves, and to recover by force what by unlawful force is taken from them; yet the right to do so will not easily engage them in a contest, wherein they are sure to perish; it being as impossible for one, or a few oppressed men to disturb the government, where the body of the people do not think themselves concerned in it, as for a raving mad-man, or heady malcontent to overturn a well settled state; the people being as little apt to follow the one, as the other."


Jefferson: "The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Locke: "When the governor, however intitled,” wrote Locke, “makes not the law, but his will, the rule; and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion.”