A biography of John Locke.

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John Locke was an English philosopher and the founder of empiricism. He was born in 1632 at Wrinton in Somerset, and was the son of a Puritan attorney. He was educated at Westminster by Puritans, and studied mathematics and medicine at Christ Church College at Oxford. In 1666 he met Anthony Ashley Cooper, the first earl of Shaftesbury. Later on he became an advisor to the Whig's first earl of Shaftesbury where he lived in 1667. He held several important positions until 1684 when he was expelled from England for being involved in plots against the king. He, then, traveled to France and lived in Holland where he became known by the Prince of Orange (who later became William III). When William III received the throne Locke became favored again and held the positions of commissioner of appeals, an advisor on coinage, and a member of the council of trade.

The emphasis on natural rights was brought about largely by the writings of John Locke. He said that the authority of the government depended on the consent of the people. Locke believed that, originally, people lived in a state of nature without restrictions on their freedom. They soon realized that without any restrictions confusion would soon be the result if everyone enforced their own rights. People agreed to live under a common government but they didn't want to surrender their "rights of nature" to the government. The people expected the government to protect their rights, especially life, liberty, and property. "Locke's ideas of limited government and natural rights became part of the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789), and the U.S. Bill of Rights (1791)."(pg 610)

John Locke had two major contributions, the Two Treatises of Government and the...