John Locke

John Locke biography
Public domain in the United States

John Locke biography

John Locke (August 29, 1632 – October 28, 1704) father of liberalism. He was born in Wrington, Somerset, England. Son of Puritans Agnes Keene and John Locke, a lawyer who stood out as parliamentary captain during the English civil wars between the monarchy of Charles I and the parliamentary forces under the eventual direction of Oliver Cromwell. From an early age, Locke learned the ideas of his father and rejected the monarchy, in addition, to deny the supposed divine right that the king had to govern. John spent his early years at the Westminster School and the Christ Church in Oxford. For four years Locke remained under the instruction and control of Busby, a rather cruel and despotic man. Despite this way of being, Busby was an excellent instructor, taught him Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, mathematics, and geography.

For the decade of 1650, John Locke gained the title of the scholar of the king, an academic honor that benefited him financially, buying diverse books of classic texts in Greek and Latin. Although Locke was evidently a good student, he did not agree with the education of his country. For this reason in his adulthood attacked by the excessive use of corporal punishment and inhuman behavior towards students. This criticism was reflected in the book Thoughts on Education (1693).

This versatile man studied at the University of Oxford, where he received his doctorate in 1658. Although his specialty was medicine, John Locke was also a diplomat, theologian, and economist. In the years to come, he served as tutor and professor of Greek and rhetoric. During his classes, he always reflected his interest in science, medicine, and politics. So much so that he returned to Oxford to pursue a career in health. After finalizing it, was hired like a doctor by Lord Ashley, future count of Shaftesbury. While in the Lord’s service, he experienced an interest in the public and politics.

For a few years, he held public office but was forced to leave because of his clear opposition to the absolutism of the Stuarts and the defense of parliamentary power, this caused him great problems and forced him to take refuge in France and the Netherlands, respectively. The stay abroad was positive because it increased the knowledge and philosophical influences of Locke.

“Almost everything the story talks about is nothing but fights and killings” John Locke

After the triumph of the English Glorious Revolution in 1688, Locke returned and became one of the great ideologues of English Protestant elites who, gathered around the Whigs, came to control the state by virtue of that revolution; consequently, his ideology had exercised a decisive influence on the political temperament of the United Kingdom to the present. Locke defended the religious tolerance of all Protestant sects and even non-Christian religions, but his resentment did not allow him to accept the right to tolerance of both atheists and Catholics.

In 1689 he published one of his first most famous works: Letters on Tolerance. In it, he denied the state the right to intervene in religious matters. A year later he published Treaties on Civil Government and Essay on Human Understanding. It was his incursion into the world of politics from the philosophical point of view, thanks to these philosophical works, laid the foundations of liberal political thought.

Many of his arguments were based on the thought of Thomas Hobbes. Locke grounded in the idea that the State is born of a social contract, rejecting the traditional thought of the divine origin of power; He also argued that this pact did not lead to absolute monarchy, but to a limited and revocable government. His concern for economic, political and religious issues led him to offer alternatives to the existing model consigned in works such as Some considerations on the consequences of low interest (1692), Thoughts on education (1693) and Rational Christianity (1695) ).

The English philosopher firmly believed that a government should be composed of a king and a parliament in which the aspirations of popular sovereignty are expressed and legislated, not only for the people but for all. For him, the State should be based on the principles of popular sovereignty and legality, respecting the rights of all citizens. For these dissertations, some historians see John Locke as one of the main influences of modern politics because its postulates were the beginning of modern liberalism, bequeathing a great impact among the thinkers of the time.

His theories and writings were so accurate that other philosophers such as David Hume and Condillac drank from his theories. However, possibly the greatest influence exerted by the English thinker was on future statements and different liberal treaties in other parts of the world, such as the case of the North American Constitution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

“God save me from the calm waters that I will save myself from the hard ones” John Locke.

His health was rarely good, and he suffered especially from the high humidity of London. Therefore, he accepted the offer of his close friend Damaris Masham, to make his home with his family in Oates in High Laver, Essex. There he spent his last years writing various works, sharing with friends, such as Isaac Newton, and answering extensive letters to his critics. After a long period of illness, he died in the company of Damaris on October 28, 1704. He was buried in the church of High Laver.

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