John Locke

by Ben from Laguna Beach

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts-John Locke

John Locke was born in Bristol, England, on August 29, 1632. Locke entered Oxford University in England when he was 18. It was Owen who first introduced Locke to the idea of religious freedom and the idea that people should not be punished for having different views about religion. He felt that all conflicts could be solved if the two groups could settle their differences by seeking a middle ground and compromise.

After college Locke expressed his views about freedom of religion and the rights of citizens. In 1682 the English government saw his ideas as a challenge to the King's authority. After fleeing to Holland, Locke began publishing his writings, many of which focused on government. Through his writings, Locke argued that people had the gift of knowledge or the ability to think. Locke thought they had the ability to govern themselves and to look after the well-being of society.


Locke did not believe that God had chosen a group or family of people to rule countries. He rejected the "Divine Right," which many kings and queens used to justify their right to rule. Instead, Locke supported democracy as a form of government. Locke believed that governments were formed to protect the right to life, the right to freedom, and the right to property. These rights belonged to all the people. Locke also believed that government power should be divided equally into three branches of government so that politicians will not face the temptation of having absolute power. If any government abused these rights instead of protecting them, then the people had the right to rebel and form a new government. This philosophy is the way in which the United States of America runs their government today. Locke also felt that women had the ability to reason, which entitled them to an equal voice. This was an unpopular idea during this time period in history.

Despite fearing that he might be censored, he wrote, "It may not be [wrong] to offer new... [ideas] when the old [traditions] are apt to lead men into mistakes, as this [idea] of [fatherly] power's probably has done, which seems so [eager] to place the power of parents over their children wholly in the father, as if the mother had no share in it; whereas if we consult reason or [the Bible], we shall find she has an equal title."

Page created on 7/21/2006 10:53:49 AM

Last edited 4/2/2024 2:53:56 PM

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Related Links

Encyclopedia of John Locke - internet encyclopedia of John Locke
Biography of Locke - Biography of Locke

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7/21/06 rm