John Locke's Influence On The Declaration Of Independence

338 Words2 Pages

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) had studied political science and had read Locke's Two Treatises on Civil Government while he was in college. He was very impressed with the ideas of John Locke, especially with the idea that no government could exist without the approval of the people. Jefferson also believed that if a government treated its citizens unfairly, the citizens could break away and form a new government.

In the summer of 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. He used many of the ideas and even some of the exact words of John Locke in this work. This Declaration was the foundation of the new nation that was to be called the United States of America.

The ideas of Locke were very influential because the frontier of the American colonies must have seemed very much like the state of nature that Western political thinking had described. Some of the early colonists, such as the Pilgrims in 1620, made compacts or contracts with each other. These compacts were much like those in the state of nature described by both Locke and Hobbes. The Declaration of Independence is a compact between the people of the colonies. People believed that they were living without government, almost in a state of nature. …show more content…

The first two paragraphs are called the preamble and contain most of the political thoughts that you have studied in this unit. The remainder, or body, of the Declaration lists the specific actions of King George that the colonists thought were

Open Document