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John Locke

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John Locke was the son of a country attorney and was born on August 29, 1632 . He grew up in and during the civil war, and later in 1652, entered the Christ Church, Oxford, where he remained as a student and teacher for many years. Locke taught and lectured in subjects such as Greek, rhetoric, and Moral philosophy. Lockedisagreed with many of the topics that were taught at the university. Locke, after reading books by Descartes, acquired a strong interest in contemporary philosophical and scientific questions and theories.

In 1666, Locke accidentally met with Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st of Shaftesbury, 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 advisor, and also let him hold a number of governmental posts while his patron was in office. 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 into Shaftesbury where he once again joined Cooper's service. Four years later, Cooper was forced to flee to Holland, where Locke, shortly after, followed him. They remained there until the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

On his return to England, Locke issued many or works, the chief of these being the Two Treaties of Government, and the Essay Concerning Human Understanding. These writings were immediately successful and they both exerted a vast influence. Between the both of these works, they made the dominant view of English thought through the greater part of the eighteenth century. Also on his return, the new king, William III, appointed Locke to the Board of Trade in 1696, a position from which he resigned because of ill health in 1700.

Locke spent peaceful old age in the country household at Oates, of his friends Sir Francis and Lady Masham. He spent the last couple of years revising the Essay, replying to his critics, and writing a number of other works on economic,philosophical, and religious topics. Locke died in Oates on October 28, 1704.

Locke's Two Treatises of Government (1690) was a well-known and respected document. In the paper, he 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 felt he should be there. Locke argued that sovereignty did not reside in the state, but with the people, and that the state is supreme, but only if it is bound by civil and what Locke referred to a "natural" law. Many of these thoughts were later embodied in the constitution. Some of these ideas, such as those relating to natural rights, property rights, the duty of the government to protect these rights and the rule of the majority are used in many places to this day. He also believed that man by his nature had certain inalienable rights and duties. These rights included life, liberty, and ownership of property. By liberty, Locke meant political equality. The task and duty of the government of any state



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