John Locke's Influence on the Constitution

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John Locke is one of the most influential Enlightenment philosophers of the seventeenth century. His philosophical writings of individual rights and role of government to secure these rights were a major influence on the founding fathers of the United States of America. The founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison used many of the tenets of John Locke's philosophy to construct the American political ideology of liberal democracy. John Locke's view of what a civil society and popular sovereignty inspired the founding fathers and the colonists to develop a political and social discourse which fueled the American Revolution. Locke's influence can be seen in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Locke’s philosophy of government, freedom, and natural rights challenged the power of England’s monarchy in Europe over the colonies in America. Although the foundations of these documents are highly influenced by John Locke's ideology, there are parts of these documents that stray away from his views. In this paper I will examine certain parts of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Federalist Papers and argue that for the most part, if John Locke were alive today he would be pleased with these documents but I will also highlight parts of these documents that would concern him. The first document I will analyze is The Declaration of Independence which I consider to be the most influenced by Locke's ideology of any document the founders drafted. This document was the official proclamation of freedom from the tyrannical rule of England over the American colonies. Thomas Jefferson, the chief architect of the Declaration of Independence was heavily influenced by Locke's philosophy of government which can easily be seen in the Declaration's text. For the most part, Locke would be
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