JOHN LOCKE

The KEY to the revolution!

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francescotristano

johann sebastian bach: concerto in f major, BWV 1057 - III. allegro assai by francescotristano

THE FATHER OF CLASSICAL LIBERALISM

John Locke was born in the English town of Wrington on August 29, 1632 and grew up in a Puritan household. His father was very loyal to the government, a local lawyer, and in the military. Locke got a excellent education because of his father's distinguished positions. He later went on to study medicine at the University of Oxford.


INTEGRITY

Integrity is defined as firm adherence to a code of especially moral values. While specific moral values may vary from person to person, it is clear that John Locke was unwavering in his moral beliefs. While most of Locke's ideas seem quite normal to us, their were very radical in late 17th century England, and even to where the government of England exiled him in 1683. However, Locke stuck to his moral beliefs and continued to expand his revolutionary philosophies while in exile, displaying his integrity through his actions. After his exile, Locke continued to write and argue revolutionary ideas, further displaying his integrity with his words. In "The Second Treatise of Government", Lock argues that all people have certain natural rights such as life, liberty, and property. However, he explains that people are willing to give up some of these rights so that government can provide them with a more stable environment where they can freely exercise their rights. The fact that his argument is not one sided (either arguing completely for or against the government) proves that he his motivated by his strong sense of morality. John Locke was unwavering in his moral beliefs when faced with adversity in many situations, and therefore had a strong sense of integrity.


CITIZENSHIP

Citizenship can be interpreted as behavior that promotes the ideologies of the government. John Locke did not show citizenship for his homeland of England, but instead contributed to the future United States. His philosophies challenged England's absolute monarchy and ended up influencing the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the U.S. In "Two Treatises" Locke criticizes Sir Robert Filmer for trying to justify government by appealing to the divine right of kings, and explains that legitimate governments are only those that have consent of the people. Locke even believed that revolution was not only a right, but a requirement in some situations. Locke was also speculated to be involved in the Rye House Plot to assassinate King Charles II of England and his brother James, Duke of York, before he fled to the Netherlands in 1683.


John Locke Biography

Political Affiliations

Throughout his life he greatly contributed to the success of the Whig party. Though he was associated and known for this party, he had a very strong sense of his own personal beliefs. He was however, thought of as a radical so not all of these views reflected the Whig party's values. Revolutionary ideas such as separation of church and state, and religious freedom were controversial subjects that he made his stance on. His theory of the social contract and the natural rights of man, written in "Two Treatisies of government", showed his opinion undermining the government and putting more power in the hands of the people. These ideas ultimately led and were reflected in the American Revolution, 'asking him an enemy of the English government.

"All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his own life, health, liberty, or possessions." -John Locke

WHAT HE DID FOR COLONIAL INDEPENDENCE/DEVELOPMENT

In the first treatises of government, Locke explains how monarchies fail to carry out the basic duty of government. He states that governments established by force can never be legitimate civil governments. This is because all people have certain natural rights that they themselves should always be entitled to; life liberty and property. Locke goes on to explain that when a government fails to be established in a legitimate way, the people have a right to revolt against that government and establish a government of their own. This fundamental idea had a profound effect on colonial independence. The ideas that Locke expressed in his essays legitimized the idea of a colonial revolution against the British crown.

However, Locke did not simply incite a spirit of revolution in the colonists, he explained how to create a legitimate government. His theory of the social contract played a huge role in the development of the american democracy. In short, his theory suggests that while all people are entitled to their natural rights--life, liberty, and property--they are willing to give up some of those rights in order to form a legitimate civil government. He believed that the duty of this government was essentially to provide an environment where all people could live together safely and peacefully, and still have their natural rights. Locke’s idea of every man’s right to “life, liberty and property” is almost directly quoted in the American declaration of independence where Thomas Jefferson wrote “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." And, by Locke’s definition, the right to property and the right to the pursuit of happiness are practically one and the same. Still, this is not the only instance that Locke’s political philosophy appears in the declaration of independence. His theory of the social contract is evident in the makeup of our government. The American government was designed to protect the citizens without encroaching on their rights more than what is necessary of a legitimate civil government. Locke’s idea of separation of powers was a way to ensure that a government would not become too power hungry and take away more rights than the citizens were willing to give. In this way, the separation of powers made sure that the government would not become illegitimate. Clearly, many of Locke’s ideas were instituted in the creation of the declaration of independence as well as the constitution.

Ideas concerning religion had never been greatly publicized in England, especially when they were against the government. However, Locke had a strong belief in religious tolerance. These types of beliefs were not allowed in England at this time, and Locke’s strong opinions resulted in his exile. These ideas spread very quickly through the people who were interested in this new way of life. We can remember from past history lessons that the first settlers were fleeing from England’s religious persecution that they practiced at this time. The Church of England’s strict expectations made people want to turn to John Locke’s theory of a land where religious tolerance was law. John Locke made his revolutionary theory of religion public, which the people of England took in and finally felt the need to revolt and escape the monarchy of England. Without the inspiration of John Locke’s many ideas, colonists might not have left England in hopes of finding religious freedom or revolted against the illegitimate monarchy of England.





2nd Period- Priya Desai, Andrea Abel, and Erica Gunzelman