John Locke Essay

Submitted By mette5
Words: 608
Pages: 3

Luke Mette
Mr. Somerville
AP U.S History
October 5, 2014
John Locke's Influences John Locke's political philosophies influenced the American colonists by establishing a new format of government for a new nation. Locke rejected the claim that kings and queens had a “divine right” to rule others. Instead, governments were created among naturally free people as social compacts or contracts. Locke argued that rebellion against such a government was acceptable if it failed to protect certain “self-evident” natural rights, including life, liberty, and property. This “right of rebellion” theory, based upon natural law, essentially influenced the American Patriots. John Locke's Ends of Political Society and Government influenced the American ideas of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine's Calling for a Break with England, and the Pennsylvania Constitution. Locke believed that a government with great power would be tempted to use its authority to control individuals. “The government”, he states, “should be divided into different branches with each branch possessing only the power necessary to fulfill its function.” For example, in the Declaration of Independence it states the British took away their power to run a government made up of a Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branch. Locke’s ideas regarding limited, democratic government, the right to rebel against an inept government, and the opportunity to pursue the natural rights should be enjoyed by all. This influenced Jefferson and stated “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Locke states “Men being by nature all free, equal, and independent, no once can be put out of this state and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent.” Thomas Paine agreed with this by stating in his writings that “There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of Monarchy; it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required.”Thomas Paine challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. The plain language that Paine used spoke to the common people of America and was the first work to openly ask for independence