Classical Liberalism: Two Treatises on Government by John Locke

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Classical Liberalism, the Enlightenment, was a political movement that has impacted countries and their policies over many generations. The Enlightenment emphasized the notion that men are inherently good by nature (Bentley). The Enlightenment gave people the idea that a king was not necessary to rule over the people because people are not inherently bad. If anything, the people need someone to guide them but not have absolute rule over them. Revolutions have been based off of Enlightenment ideals because they are used to benefit the majority not the rich elite. John Locke, and his book Two Treatises on Government, impacted the Enlightenment by spreading the ideals around the world, which influenced revolutions. Locke wrote that “the…show more content…
The Declaration of Independence uses popular sovereignty as the basis for the reasoning for American independence with Britain. “Among these [rights] are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” (US 1776. paragraph 2). When these rights are infringed upon the people have the right to rebel. This shows why the revolutions came to happen. The people were finally given a definite reason to rebel, which seems to help unify the country in the rebellion. In Locke’s Two Treatises on Government he states that “in the state of nature, one man comes by a power over another; but yet no absolute or arbitrary power” (Locke. sect. 8). Again, these writings are emphasizing that an absolute monarchy is wrong because no man is more important than another and that no man should have more power over another man than is consented to. This showed people the flaw in the King of Great Britain governing the Americas. The Declaration of Independence argued the inequality of class systems as reasoning for separation from Britain. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (US 1776. paragraph 2). When the government oversteps the line of governing with consent the people do not approve and want to change things. The Enlightenment also impacted the French people as it did in America. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen says, “the aim of every political association is the

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