John Locke vs Thomas Jefferson

602 Words3 Pages
When our founding fathers met to discuss the possibility of severing ties with Great Britain, they each came for numerous reasons. Some were upset about taxation without representation or agreement, and others mainly concerned with the grievances committed towards them by the royal army at King George's command. No matter the reason, it soon became apparent that a new, separate government needed to be formed; Thomas Jefferson was to be the lead author of this document. Therefore, our Declaration of Independence was heavily influenced by British philosopher John Locke. You can see in the text of the document, and even in the list of reasons given to separate from Great Britain, Locke's words, ideas, and theories coming into play. In Locke's Second Treatise of Government provided a framework as to why we should act on all these grievances and declare independence. His ideas focused on the theory of a "state of nature" in which all men are equal. One of the most noticeable instances of direct influence is in the preamble, where our Declaration proclaims the right of every man to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Locke's Treatises provides everyone with a right to defend their "life, health, liberty, or possessions". Even the first sentence of our Declaration establishes a Natural Law, a theory popularized by Locke with his State of Nature ideas. It was also in this first section of the Declaration that we establish if it becomes necessary for one government to be abolished and another created, this process is allowed under Natural Law; so Locke's theory is employed again as his ideas of a State of Nature are lent to our idea of Natural Law. The second part of the Declaration, were we list our grievances towards King George, and establish that because of these wrongs he is no longer fit to rule us as a colony. The final part of the Declaration in which we

More about John Locke vs Thomas Jefferson

Open Document