John Locke vs. Thomas Jefferson

By: Sydney Williams

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Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence

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John Locke: Treatise of Civil Government

1st Comparison

"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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving......." -Declaration of Independence

"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. . ." - Treatise of Civil Government

The comparison of these two quotes is that both talk about the state of equality, and that we have no ranking, and no man is greater than the other. We all have the same rights.

2nd Comparison

"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......"- Declaration of Independence

"In these and the like cases, when the government is dissolved, the people are at liberty to provide for themselves, by erecting a new legislative, differing from the other, by the change of persons, or form, or both, as they shall find it most for their safety and good.."- Treatise of Civil Government

Both of these two quotes state that if the government were to disappear, the people would have the right to form a new government that would provide for the country's safety and well-being.

3rd Comparison

"He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers..."- Declaration of Independence

"...have a right to resume their original liberty, and, by the establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society..."- Treatise of Civil Government

These quotes are similar to each other because in the Declaration of Independence, it states we can establish Judiciary powers, and in the Treatise of Civil Government it says that we have a right to establish a new legislative for own safety and security.

4th Comparison

"He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us..."- Declaration of Independence

"The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of their property. . . whenever the legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people..."- Treatise of Civil Government

In the Declaration of Independence its meaning is we have government that will protect us from war, and in the Treatise of Civil Government it's quote means that the reason we enter this world is because we know our property would be reserved whenever it was destroyed. Both of the quotes also talk about war with the people.

5th Comparison

"For protecting them, by a mock Trail, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants...."- Declaration of Independence

"But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of Licence. . .The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…"- Treatise of Civil Government

These quotes are similar to each other because in the Declaration of Independence it says that we're protected by a mock trail from any punishment, instead of just being put to death for our crimes, and in the Treatise of Civil Government is says that each state governs its own and that no one should harm another life.


The two most important similarities are my first and second comparisons listed above, because these quotes inquire that everyone is equal no matter what race or gender, and that we all have the same rights. Without this, there would be race crimes and war within out country, because we would all think that we were on different ranks. These quotes also inquire that if our government were to disappear, it would be up to the people to govern ourselves. That's important because instead of everyone running around and panicking, we would have someone step up and take charge.