How did John Locke influence Thomas Jefferson?


John Locke's ideas about life, freedom, government and property ownership were major influences on Thomas Jefferson's writings, including the United States Declaration of Independence. In fact, the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" were borrowed almost in entirety from earlier writings by Locke who wrote treatises about government. Jefferson regarded Locke as one of the most important philosophers in regard to the subject of liberty.

John Locke believed that government is a necessary element of society in which everyone benefits, and that people willingly sacrifice some personal liberties in order to be part of that society. He also believed, however, that people had certain inalienable rights, and that governments do not have the right to ask members of the society over which it rules to sacrifice those rights as a condition. Those inalienable rights are life, liberty and property. Locke believed that in having the right to own property, people could pave their own path to happiness.

Thomas Jefferson was not the only founding father who subscribed to these beliefs. James Madison's writings were also heavily influenced by Locke. In fact, Locke's theory of inalienable rights were at the very core of the American Revolution and remain the foundation for the American dream.

Q&A Related to "How did John Locke influence Thomas Jefferson?"
Locke and Jefferson. John Locke was a huge influence on all of Thomas Jefferson's philosophical thoughts and ideals. If you research anything on Locke, you can see where many of Jefferson's
Locke wrote that all men have a natural right to life, liberty, and property or the fruits of their labor which Jefferson changed to "the pursuit of happiness" when he wrote
The "Two Treatises of Government" by John Locke greatly influenced Thomas Jefferson on writing the Declaration of Independence.
Explore this Topic
John Locke is the Father of Liberalism, a physician and philosopher. Locke influenced the constitution by advocating governmental separation of powers, a belief ...
About -  Privacy -  Careers -  Ask Blog -  Mobile -  Help -  Feedback  -  Sitemap  © 2014