John Locke (1632 – 1704) was an English philosopher and physicians. Hewas born in Wrington, England in a Puritans family. Locke is well – known as”the Father of Liberalism”, and is regards as one of the most influentialEnlightenment thinkers. His writing contributed to the development of socialpolitical, inspired generations of philosophers to follow. Locke was not onlylaid the foundation for Liberalism, the development of the Enlightenment, butalso an advocate of the empirical approaches of the Scientific Revolution. Locke was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness.
Locke believed that “individuals are born without mental built – in and thattherefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception”. This concept of”tabula rasa” raised the debate over nature vs. nurture of one’s personality,knowledge social and emotional behaviour that it is on-going until today. Thishas raised curiosity about inner space, and promotes the development ofpsychology in aspects of human behaviour and mind developing.As a political philosopher, Locke wrote Two Treatise on Government afterthe 1688 Glorious Revolution.
He refuted the dominant concept of the 17thcentury – the Divine Right of Kings which stated that political authority wasderived from religious authority. He supported the claim that all men arecreated equal, against claims that God has made all people subjected to amonarch. He also provided his owndefinition of a civil government. Locke believed government exists by theconsent of the people to protect their natural rights, including the right tolives, liberty, health and property.
The citizen naturally transfers some oftheir rights to the government to be better ensured a safe, enjoyable life. Ifthe government failed to secure the natural or please the best interests ofsociety, citizens can withdraw their obligation to obey, or change theleadership through elections and other means. This concept of the socialcontract, give people for the right to revolt against their ruler if theirrights are threatened.
Alongside with the social contract theory, Locke came up with many othertheories that laid the foundation for classical Liberalism. He believed thateveryone has an equal right to use natural resources provided by nature, andthus no one had private dominate over the rest over the resources. However, onescan hold permanent ownership of natural resource by work. Work creates privateproperty and value, Locke believed. When ones work, they create the object,therefore the object becomes the property of that person.
“The labour of hisbody and the work of his hands, we may say, are strictly his”. Therefore, Goddidn’t give natural resources to all human, but human acquired them throughwork. Locke also held that ones may only appreciate property, that “there isenough and as good, left in common for others.”Amongst all the greatness people and inventions of the Enlightenment,John Locke is one of the greatest. Histheories on life such as “tabula rasa”, his political ideas including theseparation of power, the consent of the people, the social contract have anenormous impact on all lives. All his ideas set the foundation for not only theFrance Revolution, the American Revolution, but also United State Constitution,as well as promote the rise of religious freedom and modern human rights.