The Politics of John Locke

A person wearing a suit and tie

The political spectrum is divided into three parts; the left which is liberalism, the right which is conservatism and the middle which is both. Rousseau, Hobbes, and Locke were all great political theorists of their times, however the theorist that relates most to my personal way of thinking is Locke. For the majority of people Locke is the best of both worlds in politics. He is liberal and when he needs to be conservative. Locke was the inspiration when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution and his ideas are the ones that I am most familiar with.

John Locke wrote two treatises on government in 1689, they defended the Glorious Revolution and countered the absolutist political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. Locke was influenced by Whigs, which were a group of people that are loyal to the Parliament and not the King. However Locke had his own ideas about natural rights and government. Locke believed greatly in a republican form of government where the government could step in and settle differences between people but other than that there would be little interference. He believed that Man for the most part is reasonable but sometimes he might need some help. He thought that human nature is characterized by “reason and tolerance.” In a natural state, said Locke, all people were equal and independent and no one had a right to harm another’s natural rights.

Locke’s most important idea was about natural rights, which where life liberty and the pursuit of happiness or property. A natural right is something that someone is born with, and therefore the government cannot take that right away if they did not give it. Locke also believed very much in Revolution, he said that one more natural right was the right to revolt, against a country that did not represent the people.

Locke was the model for the Constitution for America and was a very important figure in the Enlightenment, liberalists looked up to him, and Voltaire also saw him as an inspiration when it came to his ideas on social contract and politics. Locke’s theory on supply and demand is also a model for our economy today. I think that Locke was the most logical of all thinkers of his time because he believed in people but he was realistic and knew that in some cases people needed guidance.

I think because I am more liberal but consider myself in the middle because I know that sometimes government needs to be conservative at times, I like Locke more because he was such a big influence for liberals but he still wasn’t completely liberal. Locke seems most logical out of Hobbes and Rousseau, because he is willing to go to the other side of the political spectrum and his ideas are more realistic because nothing is for sure all the time. People are not completely rational but it’s wrong to think that they aren’t rational at all.

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