John Locke

        John Locke was born on August 29, 1632 in Wrington, Somerset and was raised in Pensford.  John wanted to study medicine although his father, an attorney wanted him to become a minister.  John attended Oxford University and after he graduated in 1664, he began to speak out in support of the rights of man and freedom of religion.  The Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, was Locke's friend and managed to get him small government jobs.  In 1675, Locke went to France because Cooper was losing influence and power.  He briefly returned to England in 1679, then left to Holland.  John returned to England in 1688, after Protestantism replaced Catholicism as England's religion.  He became a member of the Board of Trade under William III in 1696.  He resigned in 1700, before he died on October 28, 1704.
        John Locke believed that the people had the right to rebel against an oppressive government, human beings were not corrupt by nature, and people had the gift of reason.  In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, he wrote that humans were born with a blank slate without intuition.  Unlike his contemporary,  Thomas Hobbes, Locke opposed monarchies and did not believe in divine right.  He thought that the government should protect rights to life, liberty, and property.  Locke's ideas influenced many people, including Thomas Jefferson as he was writing the Constitution of the United States of America.

Literature by Locke