From Aristotle to John Locke to Thomas Jefferson, the ideas of great philosophers influenced the foundations of the United States. When Jefferson began writing the Declaration of Independence, he wanted to make this new country based on the basic fundamentals. He wanted to base the country on what was considered the natural laws. Jefferson had many philosophical minds to ponder when writing the document, such as Aristotle and most importantly John Locke.
The writings of John Locke were basic in the idea that they focused on the natural rights of people, the rights given by God. Locke had theories when it came to religious tolerance. Locke believed that earthly judges, the state in particular, and human beings generally, cannot dependably evaluate the truth-claims of competing religious standpoints. InA Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke argues for freedom of religion, which became one of the bedrock principles which the country was founded on.
The Lockean ideas are fundamental in the founding documents. In the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, it begins with a revolutionary phrase, “We the people.”The first three words of the preamble to the Constitution suggest one element unique to the American Revolution. First, its outcome was a government created by the people, and for the service of the people. The new American government was not one existing independently of them or, in some respect, over them. The idea of popular sovereignty in the United States predates the
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While our country was fighting for its independence at an early age there was one man who had the most powerful influence from the tip of his pen and this man was John Locke. John Locke had an incredible amount of influence on the declaration of independence and this came from the fact that he expressed the radical view that “government is morally obliged to serve the people, namely by protecting life, liberty, and property.” John Locke was a big part of helping influence what this country has come to be today and he often goes unrecognized when labeling big contributors to the declaration of independence.
English philosopher and political theorist, John Locke experienced the English Civil Wars first-hand which would later prompt him to question the purpose and structure of government. The wars were the result of conflict between a king who claimed absolute authority by divine right and a Parliament that believed itself to have authority independent of the crown. The English Civil Wars provided the context in which Locke would develop the arguments for his most famous work, the Second Treatise of Government. In the work, Locke begins by claiming that without the existence of government humans exist in a state of nature. Since there is no governing body in the state of nature individuals are free to
John Locke liked freedom, he thought that freedom was good for the government. “...(W)e must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose [manage] of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature….” (Doc A) This states that Locke wants freedom but their comes consequences. To have this freedom men needed to create a government with a legislature and an executive. Locke’s main idea was people had rights.
These rights included life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He also believed in having a limited government. His ideas had a great impact on the U.S. government and the Declaration of Independence. John Locke’s influence was evident in the Declaration of Independence when it said, “…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The colonists believed they had these unalienable rights, therefore the Americans established a government where people would be guaranteed these rights. The Americans believed that Britain was “deaf to the voice of justice.” Britain refused to respond to the outcries of the colonists. John Locke believed selfishness would always get in the way of acting morally, and Britain’s selfishness was blinding them from the suffering the colonists faced. The Americans developed a government that would listen to the people and let them have a
John Locke was perhaps one of the most influential political philosophers of the modern period. In the Second Treatise of Government, John Locke discusses the move from a state of nature and perfect freedom to a then governed society in which authority is given to a legislative and executive power. His major ideas included liberalism and capitalism, state of nature, state of war and the desire to protect one’s property.
John Locke had many accomplishments. John Locke has public may significance writing; Essay Concerning Human Understanding in 1689, Two Treaties of Government in 1690, and Letters Concerning Toleration in 1689-1692. John Locke’s “Essay Concerning Human Understanding” defined the theory of human knowledge, identity and selfhood. In his “Two Treatises of Government” believing that the legitimacy of government relies on consent from its citizens which is given on the basis of equality. A government has the duty to protect the natural rights of its people, if they fail to protect these rights, the citizen have the right to overthrow the government. This writing shows John Locke beliefs in “life, liberty, and property.” In his “Letters Concerning Toleration,”
Jefferson received a great deal of inspiration from Locke in writing the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration, however, is not a creation of government. The Constitution of the United States is the result of the Declaration. Locke influenced that form of government, as well.
Both John Locke and Thomas Jefferson believe that people have certain natural rights and that it is the government’s job to protect these rights. Their documents were both written for revolutions, although they were two very different revolutions. Ultimately, a revolution in Europe influenced Locke to write the Second Treatise on Government. The Second Treatise on Government was important because it influenced the way many later philosophers would view government. One philosopher influenced by Locke was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence used the same philosophy as Locke’s Second Treatise on Government, but it also held great significance in that it was the first time a group of colonies had successfully separated from a world power like Great Britain.
His writings had a great impact in the perception of the leaders of America. John Locke was an English philosopher who highly influenced the Founding Fathers. He highly believed in natural science and in the growing middle class and represented the principles of the Enlightenment. In an essay Locke wrote concerning human understanding in 1690, Locke denied the idea of native beliefs and argued that every individual is born with a blank mind and that it is the environment that shapes the individual. Thomas Hobbes 's belief that kings govern by divine power was rejected by Locke. He believed that every human being was born equal and that the surroundings in the environment was what molded everyone. Locke argued that people are blessed with some natural rights such as liberty, life, and property. Locke was the philosopher that exposed the concept of governmental checks and balances which later became the foundation for the U. S. Constitution.
While reading the “The Second Treatise of Government,” you can notice and see that John Locke has a strong standing for civil rights as well as helping with the development of the Constitution of the United States. He states that the “consent of the governed,” is basically saying that communities are not put together by the divine right or ruled by. Paternal, familial, and political are types of powers that John Locke mentions that have all have unlike characteristics. He inspired others to believe in and want equal rights and democracy. John Locke talks about the state of nature, which basically states that no one has the power to be ruler of someone, as well as they are able to do what they want in a freely matter. In other words people are born just like anyone else that is born, and should have equally rights to property, health, and liberty, and that no one should have the power over anyone. Everyone should be able to live and enjoy his or her own freedom and wellbeing. However, the state of nature is not a guarantee to have natural laws, which could help with the protecting of one’s property. According to him having your own personal freedom was the true meaning of state of nature. John Locke thought that people were following his faith in human rationality through the declaration of Locke. John Locke states that if the government takes away from others for them to empower them then the people have right and opportunity to go against
Locke defended the belief that individuals are born with natural rights to life, liberty, and property in the “Two Treatises of Government” and used it to support the idea of a social contract between the people and the authority. He believed that to maintain a stable and safe society, the people should resign some of its power to its government. Since the legitimacy of the ruler is assigned by the governed they have the right to replace the government if it fails to protect the welfare of the people. His radical thinking ignited revolutionary thoughts that led to the American Revolution and consequentially to the French Revolution. He inspired the founding fathers to create the United States of America, a government based on Locke’s political philosophies like the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness in the Declaration of Independence or the concept of three branches of government that would keep each other balanced in the
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, both had an impact on influencing the development of liberal ideology. Due to this, the term “rights” is now prevalent everywhere in politics. “Natural rights” is the principle in which, every individual is born with rights and these cannot be removed by force or law. It is the entitlement to act or to be treated in a specific way. The essential human law of nature is the preservation of mankind. In order to maintain stability in society, Locke exclaimed humans should have a right and duty to live peacefully without any threat.
In a such a fast-paced world, the humanities are the much needed breath of fresh air that allows everything to slow down for a moment. Some use this time to reflect on past experiences and question what they believe and how things are done. But the most important aspect of the humanities is, arguably, its ability to present the past in a simplistic view so that society may learn from its mistakes in order to cultivate a better future. In an attempt to do so, it is imperative that this country is able to get back in touch with its roots. More specifically, John Locke. Though they may not know it, the people already have the tools needed to make a more perfect nation. It is through the study of the humanities that these tools can finally be put to use.
John Locke published “Two Treatise [essays] of Government” in 1689. In these tow documents Locke proposed that every person had the rights of life, liberty and property. The government cannot take these unalienable rights away unless they have a reason. Locke also stated that the
John Locke believed that every man had natural rights, which meant everyone is born with certain rights that couldn’t be taken away from one and others. For example John Locke said, which meant that everyone is equal, and no one can put another down due to his/her feeling of themselves. He believed that these rights were life, liberty, and property. Locke believed if the people gave some of their freedoms to their ruler, then the ruler could not take away the people’s Natural Rights. This was called the Social Contract.