John Locke was born on August 29th, 1632 in Somerset, England. He first studied medicine at Oxford University, and then later became a highly influential British philosopher. His ideas and literary works largely influenced people and governments during both his time, and ours. In his major works, Locke wrote down his ideas on topics such as political philosophy, education, and epistemology. In John Locke’s works on the topic of political philosophy, he introduced his ideas on the subjects of natural rights and the social contract.
Locke’s ideas on these subjects have been largely influential in the development of the foundation of modern government. One of John Locke’s most influential ideas was the thought that everyone had specific natural rights. In his opinion, there are certain natural rights that every person is entitled to have. According to Locke, these include the rights to life, liberty, and property. He developed these ideas in his most renowned piece of literary work called Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government.
In this document, Locke writes that people should give up some natural freedoms in order to cooperate with the common law, and in return, the government should protect them. Another main point Locke makes is that citizens in any given country have the right, and obligation, to replace their current government if the regime is abusing its powers. Locke writes “Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.
” The ideas put forth in his Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government inspired the libertarian ideals of the American Revolution, and also set an example for those who lived in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Locke’s writings were a huge inspiration to the founding fathers of America, and to the people in the original colonies who read Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government on the eve on the Revolution. His anti-authoritarian ideas inspired the creation of a different type of government that protected the rights and freedoms of its people.
The Social Contract theory goes hand and hand with natural laws. The social contract is an agreement between the people and their government, where the people agree to obey the state and pay for its services, and the government will make and enforce laws that protects its citizens. This idea of social contract was also talked about in Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government. Many writers who read Locke’s ideas on natural laws and social contract became influenced by him and his ideas, most notably Thomas Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence.
Locke’s Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government can be seen as somewhat of an outline for the Declaration of Independence. An example of this in the Declaration is when it states that every man has a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ” This almost directly references Locke’s ideas in Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government where he states every man has a right to defend their “life, health, Liberty, or possessions”. Also, the first sentence of the Declaration establishes a Natural Law based on a theory popularized by Locke. John Locke was and continues to be a huge contributor to modern governments.
The ideas of natural rights and the social contract that were put into the Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government , as well as the other writings and ideas John Locke created were a huge inspiration to many people, politicians, and modern governments. Most notably, the United States of America, where Locke’s ideas were put into the Declaration of Independence, and where he inspired the founding fathers to create a government where the people held the power, and every man had equal rights. Without John Locke and his writings, who knows where America and many other non-authoritarian governments would stand today.
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