How Did John Locke Influence The Formation Of The American Government

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Locke’s Foundation
America was not only diverse in race and religious backgrounds, but political views varied as well, which created varying degrees of discourse within the republic. However, John Locke’s ideas were admired and influential to the formation of the American government. Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s founding fathers, believed so strongly in Locke’s political philosophy that Locke’s influence was reflected in Jefferson’s writings. Despite the diversity of the American people and unprecedented changes throughout American history, the American people were still guided by his philosophy from colonization in the Americas to the conclusion of the American Civil War.
Despite the fact that people already lived on American land, …show more content…

Locke stated, “MEN being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent” (Locke, 43). As before mentioned, de Sepúlveda compared the Native Americans to children and believed that their conquerors should act as father figures. This view conflicts in a way with Locke’s views of the equality of men and their right to be governed. Locke did believe that the Native Americans should not have rights to claim the land on which they lived. Locke also stated that “in assemblies, impowered to act by positive laws, where no number is set by that positive law which impowers them, the act of the majority passes for the act of the whole, and of course determines, as having, by the law of nature and reason, the power of the whole” (Locke, 43). As more Europeans immigrated to America, the population of the Native Americans was smaller in proportion to that of the European settlers, thus giving European settlers became the majority (Jefferson, 205). Because Locke’s ideas argue that the majority can represent the whole, American leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson technically had the right to decide on the proper way to manage relationships with Native peoples. Regardless of the racial influences to their decision making, if the governing body …show more content…

Now that the slaves were free, it was time to decide their role in society. Lincoln proposed colonization; however, many African Americans preferred to stay in America (Lincoln, 556). Because of this, southern legislators felt the need to establish the Black Codes. These codes limited the rights of the newly freed slaves in order to regulate their involvement as citizens and to maintain white power (Black Codes, 573-580). Again, race dictated the decision to make rights and privileges interchangeable. If all men were created equally as Locke preached, then the African American people should have had same rights as the white members of American society, including voting, testifying, and landownership. Limiting the rights of African Americans also limited their opportunities, meaning that the power balance was more skewed than it had been when the Industrial Revolution grew and evolved. The fear of the loss of white power was superficial and invalid because the white race was, and has been for decades, the majority of the American people. Granted, they did have the power to create the Black Codes if they believed it was for the common wealth, according to the Lockean philosophy of the majority over the minority. However, southern legislators were violating human rights, and violating human rights was how the Civil War emerged in the first

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