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John Locke's Contributions

John Locke's contributions to the enlightenment had a great deal to do with the inspiration of America today. He was a philosopher who developed the philosophy that there were no legitimate government under the rights of kings theory. The king's theory is that god chooses the rulers and when the ruler is being challenged you are challenging god. Locke didn't think this was right so he wrote his own theory to challenge it. One idea in his theory was the power to be a governor to be granted by the people, maybe through voting. This is the basic formula for the political philosophy of liberalism- Locke's philosophy. Locke speaks of a state of nature where men are free, equal, and independent. He champions the social contract and government by consent. He goes even farther than Hobbes in arguing that the government must respect the rights of individuals. It was Locke's formula for limited government, more than Hobbes's, that inspired the Amercian Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers, in the Declaration of Independence, speak of both natural laws and natural rights. Locke does likewise. Natural right and natural law may be combined, but if they are, one must take precedence over the other. Either the individual's right, or his duty to moral law, must come first. Equality is the driving force of Locke's political theory because it is the basis for our consensual participation in society, a requisite for the establishment of any state. As such, equality is not just necessary in the establishment of government but is also a requisite in maintaining a safe and stable nation. Locke describes the responsibility of the government (specifically the legislative power) as "the preservation of the society, and of every person in it" (Locke, Two Treaties of Government, 322), showing his belief...

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