Locke v. Jefferson Presentation

By: Savannah Strauss, Andrea Orzolek, and Grace Rao

Comparisons between Locke's Two Treatises of Government and The Declaration of Independence

Locke clearly states in Two Treatises of Government in Chapter II, sections 4-5 that "A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection,..." which is deirectly related to one of the most famous parts of the Declaration of Independence "All men are created equal". By saying that there should be a state of equality Locke menas that all men should be equal.
The Declaration of Independence says that "That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,". Jefferson meant that the govenemt would be governed by the people in order to secure thier rights. Locke had these origanal thoughts and said " And thus all private judgment of every particular member being excluded, the community comes to be umpire, by settled standing rules, indifferent, and the same to all parties; and by men having authority from the community, for the execution of those rules, decides all the differences that may happen between any members of that society concerning any matter of right; and punishes those offences which any member hath committed against the society, with such penalties as the law has established: whereby it is easy to discern, who are, and who are not, in political society together." in Chapter VII, section 87-89. Locke said that we are in a political society togther, much like what Jefferson reffered to as as.
In Chapter XVIII, sections 208-209 Locke says "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;" meaning that the people obstucted the givenemt so if it is gettting out of hand that people can take away it's power. Jefferson uses the same idea when he says "that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,".
In Chapter III, section 17 Locke says that in order "To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me.". Jefferson aslo mentions something like Locke did about inprisonment and abuse. They are bothing talking about a man that needs to be realeased from duty but the people if things are getting out of control. Jefferson says "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security". The people need to make decisons on who they want to run the country so that they don't have someone "enslaving" them.

Jefferson states in the Declaration that "they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" meaning that we as humans have certain rights that can not be taken away becuse they were given to us by our creator. Locke clearly stated that "No body can give more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it." in Chapter IV, section 23. This is where Jeffersons ideas about self power originated.


Savannah Strauss: I personally believe that the comparison between Locke's and Jefferson's views on equality is most improtant and relevant in today's society. Now-a-days it would seem as if racism is very slim being that we have an African American as president but it is not slim at all. Yes it is much better then it was 50 years ago, maybe even 10, but racism is still relevant. I can honestly say that I don't go a day without hearing a racist comment. It may be a joke or it may be serious but I always hear something.

When you hear about racism in the past you generally think 'African Americans' but now almost every race is discriminated on. "Asians and Indians are the smart ones", "Mexincans do the yard work", ect. This is extremmly sad to hear because all men are created equal. Skin color does not matter and that's what Locke and Jefferson were trying to teach us. Society has taken great leaps toward less discrimination but it is still present and a very relevant important issue.