Western Civilization encompasses many new innovations, theories, and discoveries. However only the greatest people, events, and concepts of Western Civilization are still known and used today. In my opinion one of the most influential people of this time period is John Locke. Locke discovered multiple breakthroughs on natural law that still have a great impact on our modern society. John Locke was born August 29, 1632, in Wrington, a small village in the English county of Somerset.
His parents were both Puritans and this meant Locke’s father served in the English war in 1642. Locke was very well educated and he graduated from Christ Church, one of Oxford’s most prestigious schools, with a bachelor’s of medicine in 1674. Early in his medical studies Locke became a personal physician for Lord Ashley, who later became the chancellor of the Exchequer. Working for a chancellor had a great affect on his political views. He became a highly influential philosopher, writing about such topics as political philosophy and education.
His most famous piece of writing was “Two Treatises of Government” which was composed as an argument on absolute monarchy and his teachings of Natural Law. John Locke is most notable from his views and discoveries on natural law. Although he is most remembered for his findings on natural law, it was established way before him. The law was based off how humans were in nature, before government and religious laws like divine right which, helped influence the separation of church and state. Natural law provides total freedom and total equality and everything is operated by reason.
Locke believed that in natural law people have the right to life, liberty, and property and that should be incorporated in the government. Which it has been incorporated in many governments since his rebellion on absolutism. John Locke has had a major impact on our modern society. Many countries still apply his teachings to their government and now very few countries still use absolute monarchy. The countries that use Locke’s teachings believe that there needs to be freedom and equality and that law should be based upon reason along with separation of church and state.
One of the most influenced countries by John Locke is America. Most scholars trace the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” in the American Declaration of Independence, to Locke’s theory of rights. Even Thomas Jefferson once said “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”.
In the end John Locke could be considered one of the greatest politicians who ever lived. Locke discovered multiple breakthroughs on natural law that still have a great impact today. He helped found natural law that can be used in any government. Also Locke is responsible for a great influence on politics with separation of church and state, freedom, and equality. Which is still very important for people’s lives, liberty, and property in the modern society.