An essay introduction for Alby

John Locke was a Locke that was named John from the planet Earth on which people with the last name of Locke and also with the first name of John reside.
While presumably male, his name was one that people would use for eons of history. It has been said that John revolutionized the way people see others who also carry the name of John, while often given the last name of Locke.
The author recalls meeting a man named John, although it is unknown as to whether he carried the last name of Locke. There is probably a very low possibility that this man was the John Locke in question, who would carry the same name as he yet appear as a different entity. Such is the mystery of the man who we call John Locke.
In this essay I will attempt to bridge the path between John Locke and his historical influence on the world, through a dissertation of his many endeavours and experiences. We will get to know John Locke as he was: a man on this planet Earth who changed it into the world we know today: one that now remembers John Locke and all of his expeditions into the field of humanity.
How is it, Alby needs to make it 20 pages.

31 comments

  1. Albert John Stichka
    Erin Lester
    American Federal Govt.
    January 31, 2006
    John Locke’s Influence on the United States Constitution
    The question of Locke’s involvement in the constitution is peculiar in the research of American history. Usually when we think of contributions to the revolt, declaration, and subsequent new government we think of direct involvement. The majority of classically American figures fall into the category of, well, Americans. We also tend to think that our government was of special construction and that our means and motives were uniquely built entirely by our founders. However, in this paper I intend to tackle the subject of Locke from what may seem like a circuitous and, at worst, superfluity-plagued path. By this I mean to say that though a small portion may seem biographical, like a typical historical examination of an individual, the nature of Locke’s involvement requires a more broad contextual examination of the man, his philosophy, and the mindset of the mid- to post-revolutionary American.
    John Locke, from the first moments of his cognitive life, was embedded in an atmosphere of hard work, Christian ethic, and bootstrap philosophy. His parents lived in a part of England devoted to dairy and wool processing. Being a mostly unindustrialized time and place the work was long, tedious, and did not afford luxury. His philosophy is full of references to the importance of hard work. This formed a synergistic relationship with his views concerning morality and god. His literature stresses this view on several occasions: ‘virtue and industry being as constant companions on the one side as vice and idleness are on the other’ . However, not only industry was paramount to a person’s, and consequently his nation’s, success. Locke

  2. saw population as a country’s strongest asset and built much of his philosophy on the presumption that his god’s ultimate end for man can be summed up with the biblical command to go forth and multiply. From even these seemingly superficial roots it is easy to see how Locke and the budding frontier of the colonies were at the very least on the same page. On a much less superficial note, this is the birth of Lockean Natural Law.
    Locke’s philosophy grew, as all philosophy tends to, out of both the immediate influence of his world and the established thoughts and views of his contemporaries. Popular in his time was the justification of monarchy through philosophy. Locke had established, through a great body of writing, a system of interconnected ideas that were all dependant on the precepts born from his outlook and upbringing. His concept of natural law, and how it could be justified and understood, required some level of distance from the means by which kings and other “tyrants” were supported. The avenue best suited to these ends was that of human logic and the natural senses. Locke, ever aware of his contemporaries’ approaches, found a great champion of reason in a thinker named Thomas Hobbes. However, Hobbes had already established a controversial work which, though supporting reason over tradition and innatism, was far too irreligious and pseudo-atheistic to be associated with. Not to mention, Hobbes used this reason to support absolutism, an unquestionable leadership that maintained control over nearly every right of his subject. The answer, and the key to almost all things Lockean, was to establish, through supposition of his god and his god’s superiority and plan for mankind, a path of reason based on the concept that natural law could be found by reason, and indeed often was, but was constrained only to those things which were conducive to his god’s end; i.e., the increase of population. For the purposes of this essay, we will hold that the mere presence of this reason-based analysis of practicality and his tentatively held belief that the consent of the majority in most cases revealed

  3. true natural law due to man’s innate ability to reason gave Locke the philosophical foothold he needed to subvert countless opinions of how the god of England wanted people to form government.
    Locke’s equality is not equality in the broad sense that we see it today, but rather a presupposition that men, granted the same faculties of reason and born with a right to decide what path was correct for themselves, were never born into a superior social category by virtue of birth. There are superiors in an earthly sense in Lockean equality – few of the time pretended to such an egalitarian utopia as would allow truly universal equality – but they are seen as superior by merit of ability and its use. This definition of equality is a perfect fit for the entrepreneurial spirit of colonial America and its Calvinist favor-of-god doctrine.
    This definition of equality allowed Locke to make a common sense argument with far reaching consequences. The reason granted to all men to guide their own lives gives them a right to decide the best path for their life. This reason, granted by Locke’s god, is a natural right and thus is held over the rights of government. It follows in Locke’s writing that a man would only surrender this right to the extent necessary to maintain a stable government. The remaining portion of the right is what constitutes Locke’s Liberty. This is, of course, limited by the natural law of Locke’s god requiring the consensus of a society to interpret what perpetuates the species. Simply put, from Locke’s equality comes Locke’s liberty, both limited by god and consensus. Locke’s property falls into place as a natural consequence of his equality in a much simpler way. The right to property, in fact, is summed up only in the presupposition of equality and the Bible’s grant of dominion over the earth to man in the plural.
    Life, liberty, and property thus established by a god fully in line with American Calvinist teachings, are arguably the main thrust of the Constitution and the entire American Revolution.

  4. There is a danger, though, in this rushed overview. Locke stood on the shoulders of many and was certainly not as perfect in his logic and precepts as he would have hoped. Most of his philosophy seems to be a response to other philosophers threatening his personal world view. However, because of his involvement in the enlightenment and because he was, at his core, so thoroughly “American”, he established an incredible hold on the American mind and motion. The only thing missing from this equation is the America so ready for his words.
    America for all its dreams of tyrannical overthrow and revolutionary grandeur was, in paraphrased words of Tocqueville, a land born free that never had a tyranny to replace. The outrage of the early patriots was peculiar in the time surrounding the various enlightenments given that most people of the world dealt with an at least semi-local king. The prevalence of “free” land, the legislative delay of the Atlantic, and the autonomous local-mindedness caused by the precedent of the Mayflower compact and the nature of colonial charters all conspired to give those building the new nation an odd, latent sense of freedom. Much of colonial America still felt wholly British but grew up in a land that was fundamentally free by its nature and circumstance. The philosophy of the various enlightenments took root in America with the conditions necessary to germinate. This was a source of great pride in all of classic liberal Europe. The thinkers of the time, struggling against absolutist philosophies and kings claiming divine right, saw the attitude and circumstances of America in many cases as what they were – the perfect home for their pet theories.
    There was more, though, to the American mind that led to the wholesale support of Lockean government. The church of revolutionary America was unquestionably Protestant. “They did not need to make a religion out of the revolution because religion was already

  5. revolutionary” . The churches of America were born from the theology most incompatible with European government. The colonists had come here in some cases only to be free to preach in such a way that was revolutionary. The leaders of churches, once well established across the colonies, began a sort of egalitarian Calvinist activist movement. Discontented with unimpassioned lectures and a lack of real social motivation, they created one of the Revolution’s most motivating forces, the jeremiads. Some texts suggest that these guilt-fueled orations, themed primarily on the dangers of turning into the British because of the colonies’ financial success, had a way of forcing the people into revolutionary action.
    Third, and slightly more subversive, is the very likely presence of self-interested and/or self-righteous propagandists. The sons of the Revolution were analogous to the modern mob in their strong-armed manipulation of simple facts. More interesting, though, is the influence of the Jacobites. Following the failed uprising in 1745, there was an influx of seditious Scottish printers, complete with presses. By the time the Revolution gained intellectual momentum, their children were livid with Britain from their parents’ displacement and fully trained in the art of printing and propaganda. This specific example is only one cell of a large pamphlet program. Prints and text from the time along with actual analysis of events shows an extremely powerful campaign to bend the truth to suit the views of the Revolution. Locke’s views can simply be condensed to very propaganda-friendly terms. Self evidence, liberty, equality, and property are all concepts on which Locke had written volumes. They are, however, compelling on their own.
    America, infatuated with the praise it had received from across the Atlantic, harboring a sense of nearly uninhibited freedom from birth, and capable and willing to launch a media campaign against a “tyrannical” Britain, despite a lack of tyrannical British action, met Locke,

  6. completely in line with the American mindset, touting the attractively reducible theories that not only justified the Revolution but appealed to the religious, anti-British, and hopelessly utopian mindset of all the major players, at an extremely propitious time. Locke’s greatest contribution to the course of the Revolution was his open-ended form of government. For this reason Locke was an instrumental, extremely popular, endlessly quoted, but more importantly passive player in the Constitutional Convention. His work allowed for the writing of the preamble and granted the intellectual support for a republic, but stopped where any utopia must stop, the details. A practical government built on reason, as well as the failings of human nature, provided a functional example of a republic and was able to survive long after the momentum of propaganda, philosophy, and self interest withered away. Locke provided a theory, however perfect or imperfect, that assured the people of Lockean natural law and a Protestant version of humanity long enough to allow for the secular construction of the republic. When these ideals died away, all that remained was that which was practical for the propagation of the human species, and thus ironically in line with Locke, despite the conspicuous absence of his god’s emphasis. This is the true significance of Locke’s influence on the Constitution of The United States of America.

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