John Locke: British Philosopher and Leader in American History October 14 2013
John Locke, the English philosopher, was born in 1632 in the parish of Wrington. He lived through a series of tumultuous events in England which had a significant effect on the British monarchy.
The English Revolution began in 1640 when Parliament challenged the power of Charles I. His trial and execution in 1649 paved the way for the republican Commonwealth and its constituents, the Rump Parliament, Oliver Cromwell, and the Protectorate. The monarchy was restored in 1660 under the leadership of Charles II
The Glorious Revolution of 1688 saw Parliament at odds with the monarch, yet again. With their support, Dutch stadtholder William of Orange removed James II from the throne, effectively ending the reign of the Stewarts.
It is unclear which event truly motivated Locke, but shortly after the Glorious Revolution he anonymously published his famous work, the Two Treatises of Government. The first book refuted a widely held theory of society and government known as Patriarchalism. In the second, he expounds his own views on nature, society and government.
According to Locke, mankind in a natural state are rational beings. Society and government are structures formed to protect natural rights and mediate disputes. Therefore, a government that doesn't fulfill its duties can and should be overthrown by the governed. These theories heavily influenced the course of American history due to their impact on the American Revolution, making Locke a philosopher who affected history.
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