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John Locke 3 Essay, Research Paper

John Locke

John Locke was someone that was more than just an

ordinary man, He could be considered one of the forefathers of

democracy, was a great philosopher. He was brought up in a

very unique home with many awkward and unusual topics

brought up during a family discussion. Locke had wide variety

of political and religious views. Locke also expressed many

views on education. He had many political and social


John Locke was born at Wrington Somerset, England. This

was a small town south of Bristol. Locke’s father was a puritan

attorney and clerk to a justice of peace in Wrington Somerset.

His father’s discipline to the young philosopher John Locke was

very strict. This helped John later in life disciplining him self

to his essays and his thoughts. But as a child raised in a bookish

home, he had received a good private education before entering

school. His family was visited by very wealthy and influential

people. These influential visitors would challenge Locke’s mind

and have him express is feelings on certain topics at a very

young age. This I believe helped Locke in his future in

philosophy and his writings.

In the fall of 1647 John was admitted to a tough course of

studies under the school’s headmaster, Dr. Richmond Busby.

This was Locke’s first enrollment at a school away from his

home. This experience would be a major building blocks for his

career. During his schooling he was educated in Doctrines of

Political Liberty. This was one of the topics in the Locke’s

home when he wasn’t at school. John’s father was also a

political philosopher. He loved to go into great detail about

society’s state of mind by the way they elect their government

representatives. As you can see the Lockes were every well

educated and could grasp many difficult concepts. But these

were very common subjects in the Locke’s household. Locke

graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in February of 1656

and continued his residency at Oxford University for his masters

degree. His further studies were in the field of Aristotelian

Logic, language, and Metaphysics. His program included

history, astronomy, and natural philosophy. Education was very

important to Locke. He was very determined in his school work

through out his life. If he couldn’t understand something in

school, He tried very hard to understand it. Locke’s early

contact with experimental science helped form his attitudes

toward his questions of philosophy, politics, medicine,

education, and religion. Locke attend medical lectures on a

regular basis and became a student of Robert Boyle who is the

“father of modern chemistry.” Holland provided him with a lot

of encouragement for his many ideas of popular sovereignty and

religious freedom.

Locke had many views of both political and religious.

These were his most famous areas for his thoughts and

philosophies. Locke was very famous for his thoughts

throughout history in many countries. He was one of the first

people that thought that Religion and state should be separated.

Locke published anonymously his two treaties of civil

government in 1690. He had worked on this for many years.

The first treaty attacked on views expressed in “Sir Robert

Filmers Patriarch.” The second treaty takes Locke’s own

positive contribution to political philosophy. It was not really

uncommon for Locke to publish his works anonymously. Locke

like to keep his works secretive. But his political views in his

time could have gotten him sentenced to death.

Locke went to major extremes as to use invisible ink. One

of Locke major views was that Religion and government should

be separated. He thought they should be separated because that

the government interferes to much with religion. He also

believes that the government takes the laws of the church into

their own hands and make what they think is morally and

politically correct.

Locke in general was a very easy going guy, yet a firm

person in his beliefs. He loved practically all children. He

greatly enjoyed being a guardian and tutor to the children of his

friends. Locke was very devout Christian. He tried to stress to

his pupils how important God was in their lives. He taught that

you should not be very fond of people who accept religious

doctrine on blind faith. He also stressed his concern for

discovering truth was put truth ahead of any desire for personal

fame or reputation.

Locke’s views concerning religion are expressed mostly in

the essay and in the Reasonableness of Christianity which was

published in 1695. Lock once said, “religious belief that rests

merely on authority has an uncertain foundation.” This means

that when a religion gives you orders to do something and you

can’t answer why. The religion becomes very shaky and start to

go away from it. Locke’s belief in the existence of god is

argumentative. He believes that reason will convince any

intelligent person that God must exist as a first cause. In The

Essay he tries to demonstrate this, by saying, “though God has

given us no innate ideas of himself.” Locke takes Gods

existence to be “the most obvious truth reason discovers.” But

scholars agree that Locks reasonableness of Christianity

represents an idea to the necessity of religion as a guide for the

common people. Locke reduces Christianity to a very simple

reasonable religion. The fundamentals of this idea are that

people believe in Jesus Christ the Messiah, and that they live by

the Christian codes based on God’s revelation. Locke also

argues his strong belief that religion should be separated from


Locke’s works do not include a complex article on ethics.

In the essay he expresses confidence that a deductive science of

ethics. His two most different theories are rationalism and

hedonism. Rationalism are the view that reason alone is

sufficient to determine the right good or just. And hedonism is

the view that, “The good is whatever produces or tends to

produce pleasure.” According to Locke’s theory, moral value is

resolved by our feelings of pleasure and pain.

Ethics is capable of demonstration, because moral

principles are composed by simple ideas that are brought

together without any regard to nature. Through out Locke’s

total career he does not tell us what is particular actions we

make are wrong or what actions in our lives are right. Locke

also said that, ” a person or group of people desire something

does not make the action or object in question good.” Locke

also said, “It seems that it is impossible to ever pronounce an

action is good or bad on sensual grounds. Since all the

consequences of the act cannot be calculated.” Locke will note

five lasting pleasures through out his whole career. These

pleasures are health, a good name, knowledge, doing good, and

eternal paradise.

Locke’s views on education, political and social philosophy

was very great in his whole career. According to Locke most

people neglect their understanding and consequently fall short

of what they could attain in a life time. Locke’s two articles on

civil government first appeared to the public anonymously in

1690. Only in his will did Locke acknowledge authorship of the

works he had written. It is generally assumed that the first

article was written in the 1685 and the second in 1698. It

cannot be persuaded with the notion of the two articles being

separate discourses written at different times. It is convincing

to view the first article as an answer to Filmer. Because

Cranston notes, “at the level of practical politics hobbes did not

have a fraction of the importance as Filmer had.” In order to

justify the invitation to William, Locke felt that it was an essay

to reflute the amendment that argues that appear in “The

Patriarch”. Hobbes argues as much as Filmer does that absolute

power must be vested in a monarch who, for the general good of

all the people must be a oppressor. The king is simply not

answerable to anyone. This conclusion is read by making sure

any questions concerning the nature of human beings.

Locke’s Social and political philosophy is based upon

certain assumptions concerning the origin of government. The

primitive condition of human beings and the steps by which

civil society was established. According to Locke people live in

a state of prior to the formation of the government. Locke

insists that people are naturally equal in the sense that no one

has natural jurisdiction over others. Locke’s description of the

state of nature was an historical account of how political society

developed. Locke describes the chief of civil society as, First,

the preservation of the property and second, the provision of a

system of justice.

Locke had very many elaborate views on many topics during his

life time. As you can see one of the substantial views that affects our

country today is that religion and state should be separated. Maybe if it

wasn’t for Locke we our government might not exist for his influential

thinking. To me John Locke was very important in our history. He had

many other views that has effected this world and country. But over all

I experienced many things will researching this report and writing it.

When I first started out I had no idea who John Locke was, but now I

know how much he has effected history in a major way. But by doing

this report made me think of how one persons opinion can change the

entire way a nation can change their views.


Squadrito, Kathleen John Locke, Twayne Publishers 1979

Jenkins, John Understanding Locke, Edinburgh, Edinburgh

University Press 1983

Eisenach, Eldon Two Worlds of Liberalism, Chicago, The

University of Chicago Press 1981

Rivitch, Daine and Thernstorm, Abigail The Democracy reader,

New York, Harpercollins publishers 1992 pg 31-39

Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 97 , 1993-1996

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