The Ideas of John Locke.

Essay by Nautica91University, Bachelor'sB+, July 2003

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John Locke was born in England in 1632. He is widely regarded as the father of liberal philosophy. However Locke is best known for his political ideas published in his book Two Treatises on Civil Government. The ideas expressed in this book were the rationalization behind many revolutions all over the world, including the American Revolution against Great Britain. Locke's ideas also had a profound influence on America's founding fathers and are clearly evident in both the Declaration of Independence as well as the United States Constitution.

Contrary to the views of previous philosophers such as Hobbes and Rousseau, who believed that people turned their right to be sovereign over themselves to their government, Locke believed that people were entitled to retain certain inalienable rights. Therefore, a government must respect person's individual rights thus limiting its power over the people. Locke believed that citizens had a social contract between the ruler and his subjects.

If the ruler did not protect the natural rights of the people, then they had the right to revolt. When writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson used the idea of a social contract to explain why the colonists had the right to revolt. Locke also believed if a ruler fails to uphold the natural rights given to them, the citizens have the right to revolt against the ruler. The colonists' rights were being violated by taxes imposed by British parliament where there were no representatives from any of the colonies. Jefferson used Locke's philosophical views to show the cause of the Revolution was just.

Locke believed that a government should perform two functions. The first being to protect the moral rights of the people and the second to provide for public goods, which are services that require the efforts of many people to produce...