John Locke, a philosopher of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, greatly influenced the American revolution and the French revolution. His beliefs were the social contract, natural rights, and the right of revolution. One of John Locke’s beliefs was the social contract. A social contract can be either a written or unwritten agreement between a government and its people. Social contracts usually contain a basic set of laws and agreements explaining how the country should be run. Examples of a Social contract are the US constitution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
John Locke was a huge influence for both of these documents. Locke also believed that every person has natural rights. A natural right is a basic right that every citizen should be born with. Locke said that everyones natural rights were the right to “life, liberty, and property. ” These natural rights have been quoted and used many times in history. Thomas Jefferson was influenced by this while writing the Declaration of Independence, saying that all men are created equal and that they have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Lastly and most importantly, Locke believed in the right of revolution. The right of revolution is the belief that if that a government does not meet the basic needs and wishes of its people, then the people have the right to revolt and overthrow that government. Examples of this are the American and French revolutions. The Americans revolted against England because they failed to grant them the basic rights stated in their social contract, saying no taxation without representation.
The French revolted against their government because King Louis caused the countries economy to be almost non existent and most of the country had nothing to eat. Both these revolutions led to the rise of democratic nations. John Locke is one of the most influential people in history. His beliefs has influenced the formation of many countries, including our own. His ideas have be restated and reused throughout history, and still influence people today.