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Thursday, March 30, 2017

John Locke & Politics


John Locke (1632-1704) was an English philosopher, who is one of the most influential political philosophers of the modern day and is often called the “Father of Liberalism”.  His works would later influence Voltaire, Jean-Jacque Rousseau, and many others in the Revolutionary War.  In fact, Locke’s writings on his liberal theories can be detected in the lines of the Declaration of Independence!  In his work Two Treatises of Government, Locke argued that all men are free and equal under the laws of nature, and that people have rights to life, property, liberty, and other things as such.  He believed that governments are a result of social contact between citizens, and that because it exists by the consent of the population, people transfer some rights to the government so that it can better protect their lives and promote the goodness of the public.  Should the government fail to do so, the people will resist it and replace it with a different form of government.  Lock was also a firm believer in the principle of majority rule, that any law or elected official should be chosen based on the decision of the majority of the population.  He also believed that the legislative and executive powers should be kept separate from one another, never to intervene or coerce the actions and decisions of one another.  Another point he argues is that the church should not have any power whatsoever over members of the government, that the church and the state should be separate.  Whatever you may think about his political philosophies, John Locke is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential philosophers of the modern era.

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