John Locke And Liberalism Essay

Decent Essays
When the American colonist won The American Revolutionary War against Britain our founding fathers created a democratic government. They used a set of beliefs called liberalism which had developed during the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment period. These new views of life were influenced by the English political philosopher John Locke. Although there were other philosophers who shared the idea of individual rights it was Locke’s writings that established our rights in America. He believed that individual right’s included life, liberty, and property. Locke insisted, “that the government was originally formed for the purpose of protecting man's individual rights against the incursions of other individuals” (Sigler, 1998, para.1). Locke’s …show more content…
Men have the right to be free and equal which went against the early rule of the monarchy. He believed some of our rights have to be given up to form a government that would protect every man but if the government failed or selfishly used power, the people had the right to form a new government (Adler & Pouwels, 2008, p. 320). With Locke’s liberal ideas in mind, our founding fathers felt that their lack of representation in Britain’s Parliament was unfair and failed to protect their rights. Goldie (2004) says, “When the American newspapers of the 1760s denounced George III they quoted the Two Treatises. Governments, wrote Locke, may not 'levy taxes on the people' without 'the consent...of their representatives” (para. 3). This idea of the right of revolution was the foundation of the American Revolution. After the war, the thirteen colonies formed a self-governing nation and create the U.S. Constitution of 1789. The constitution is the law that specifies government power, limitations and protects the citizens of the United States. Locke’s ideas developed America and the American …show more content…
However, Locke did not accept atheist believing that “having no religion, the atheist has no basis on which to build a political right to any freedom” (Mortensen, 2014, p. 344). His writings show that by the Third Letter he struggles at times with tolerance and denied certain religious groups like Catholics. Although these views disappear in his writings it’s interesting to note what is happening today. In the aftermath of terrorist attacks we have discriminated against people based on their religious beliefs. The Muslim faith has gone under great scrutiny and intolerance under governmental restrictions. The president banded people entering the United States if they came from seven Muslim-majority countries. Such acts put Locke’s ideas to the test. Berman (2017) reports, “Hate crimes motivated by hatred of a religion increased last year, with a rise in the number of crimes targeting Jews and Muslims (para. 3). Remember it’s the government's job to protect the people but in doing so it was also violated some of its citizens’ liberties, freedom and displayed intolerance based on religious

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