Influence Of John Locke's Influence On The Declaration Of Independence

770 Words 4 Pages
Locke’s Influence on the Declaration of Independence
During the enlightenment period, many writers were voicing their ideas about the way a government should operate. John Locke was an influential writer during this time period who wrote the book, The Social Contract. In these writings Locke expresses his thoughts about natural rights and the relationship between the government and its citizens. During this time period, the colonies were in great tension with Britain. They were being mistreated and over-taxed and wanted to be treated fairly and have equal representation in Parliament. John Locke’s Social Contract sparked new radical ideas of a government “by the people, for the people” that stands to protect the rights of its people. When the
…show more content…
Similarly, in the Declaration of Independence Jefferson states that men have the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The colonists wanted a government that cared about their personal liberties first and foremost. Although most citizens desired a government of their own by the time the Declaration of Independence was written, it wasn’t always as much of a unanimous feeling. The illustration reading “Join or Die” gives an example of one of the first attempts to form a government of the 13 colonies, the Albany Plan of Union created by Benjamin Franklin. In the illustration, it shows the 13 colonies as the 13 pieces of the snake. The writing “Join or Die” illustrates the urgent desire to become one nation. The Albany Plan of Union ultimately failed, with the second continental congress being the next big movement to join the colonies together. This was influenced by many enlightenment thinkers such as Locke which believed in a government that protected their rights as citizens. These rights that formally became listed in the Declaration of Independence as: life, liberty, and the pursuit of …show more content…
After the Proclamation Line of 1763 the acts passed by parliament that negatively affected the colonists were never-ending. After inspiration from enlightenment writers like Locke who wrote things such as, “if a ruler seeks absolute power...we have the right and duty to kill [him].” The confidence in such bold writings inspired the very beginnings of the American revolution such as the Declaration of

Related Documents