•was born on August 29, 1632, in Wrington, in the English county of Somerset. •Attended Oxford University, studying logic, metaphysics, and medicine •17th century political theorist and philosopher •He is credited with coming up with the ideas that The US was built upon, mainly the Declaration Of Independence: •Locke came up with the theory of the “Blank Slate” – he said we are born with completely empty , without knowledge or prejudices. Instead we are the “authors of our own character. ” This led to the idea that “we are all created equal.
” (called Empiricism) •Locke did not believe in large, obtrusive government, and stated that we are entitled to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; he said government’s job was to ensure these rights •Locke thought that no one should have absolute power so he came up with the idea of separation of power (church , state, and ruling class all separate) •In Locke’s landmark, Two Treatises of Government, put forth his revolutionary ideas concerning the natural rights of man and the social contract.
Both concepts not only stirred waves in England, but also impacted the intellectual underpinnings that formed the later American and French revolutions. In fact, he was exiled from England (to Holland) because of his “radical” ideas. •Locke composed “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” another ground breaking work of intellectual might that took on the task of examining the nature of human knowledge, or how we come to understand things •Years after his death we are still gauging his impact on Western thought.
His theories concerning the separation of Church and State, religious freedom, and liberty, not only influenced European thinkers such as the French Enlightenment writer, Voltaire, but shaped the thinking of America’s founders, from Alexander Hamilton to Thomas Jefferson. •Locke died on 28 October 1704. Locke never married nor had children •Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Bacon, Locke and Newton… I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences”.
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