Philosophy Word of the Day — John Locke’s Political Philosophy

John Locke, by Herman Verelst (died 1690). See...

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“John Locke (1632–1704) is among the most influential political philosophers of the modern period. In the Two Treatises of Government, he defended the claim that men are by nature free and equal against claims that God had made all people naturally subject to a monarch. He argued that people have rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, that have a foundation independent of the laws of any particular society. Locke used the claim that men are naturally free and equal as part of the justification for understanding legitimate political government as the result of a social contract where people in the state of nature conditionally transfer some of their rights to the government in order to better insure the stable, comfortable enjoyment of their lives, liberty, and property.

“Since governments exist by the consent of the people in order to protect the rights of the people and promote the public good, governments that fail to do so can be resisted and replaced with new governments. Locke is thus also important for his defense of the right of revolution. Locke also defends the principle of majority rule and the separation of legislative and executive powers. In the Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke denied that coercion should be used to bring people to (what the ruler believes is) the true religion and also denied that churches should have any coercive power over their members. Locke elaborated on these themes in his later political writings, such as the Second Letter on Toleration and Third Letter on Toleration.” (continue article)

— Alex Tuckness in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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7 thoughts on “Philosophy Word of the Day — John Locke’s Political Philosophy

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  6. Another great resource thank you

    We would love it if you could write a few articles for our educational website for teachers, but understand that you are probably busy. I have included a link to our page about John Locke below in hopes that if you can’t write some resources for us that you can at least link to it, tweet it, or add it to your Facebook profile to help us spread trusted resources throughout the educational community.

    http://www.thefreeresource.com/john-locke-facts-biographical-timeline-quotes-and-resources

    Thanks and keep the great resources coming :)

    Bre Matthews

  7. Pingback: The Moral Liberal

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