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John Locke Essay

1430 words - 6 pages

John Locke was born on August 29, 1632 the son of a country attorney and. Locke grew up in and during the civil war. In 1652, he entered the Christ Church (Oxford) where he remained as a student and teacher for many years. Locke taught and lectured in Greek, rhetoric, and Moral philosophy. Locke, after reading works of Descartes, developed a strong interest in contemporary philosophical and scientific questions and theories.
In 1666, Locke met Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, and from then on, this lifelong relationship and association helped to change the course of Locke’s career. Cooper made Locke his personal secretary and confidential adviser. In 1675, Locke became very ill and was forced to leave his employment and reside for four years in France, where he began his writing. After four years, Locke then returned again to England where he once again joined Cooper’s service. Four years later, Cooper was forced to flee to Holland, shortly after Locke followed him. They remained there until the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
On his return to England, Locke published several works, the chief of these being the Two Treaties of Government, and the Essay Concerning Human Understanding. These writings were eventually successful and both exerted a vast influence when the American revolution began in the seventeen hundreds. These works became part of English and American thought through the greater part of the eighteenth century.
Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1690) became a well-known writing. Locke attacked the theory of diving right of kings and the nature of the state as conceived by the English philosopher and political theorist Thomas Hobbes. He did not believe that a king should become king because ‘God told him to be,’ but rather, because he was qualified for the position, and also because the people agreed for him to be the king. Locke argued that sovereignty did not reside in the state, but with the people. Many of these thoughts were later embodied in the constitution of the United States. Some of these ideas, such as those relating to natural rights, property rights, as well as the duty of a government to protect these rights and the rule of the majority are used in many places to this day. Influenced by his religious beliefs, Locke believed that man had certain rights and duties such as life, liberty, and ownership of property. Locke meant political equality when writing of liberty. The task and duty of the government of any state was to protect man’s rights. Locke believes that a government could protect these rights better than individuals could on their own, and if any government didn’t adequately protect the rights of the citizens, then those citizens had the right and even a duty to find other rulers.
The idea of three branches, the legislative, executive, and the judicial came from Locke’s writings. Locke said that the government should be split up. He wrote that revolution was not only a right but often an obligation, and he...

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