John locke and the declaration of independence essay

I answer, such revolutions happen not upon every little mismanagement in public affairs. Great mistakes in the ruling part, many wrong and inconvenient laws, and all the slips of human frailty will be borne by the people without mutiny or murmur. But if a long train of abuses, prevarications, and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see whither they are going, it is not to be wondered that they should then rouse themselves, and endeavor to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the end for which government was at first erected

John locke and the declaration of independence essay

Contact John Locke John Locke was a major English philosopher, whose political writings in particular helped pave the way for the French and American revolutions.

Far from simply equating "happiness" with "pleasure," "property," or the satisfaction of desire, Locke distinguishes between "imaginary" happiness and "true happiness. As therefore the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness; so the care of ourselves, that we mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is the necessary foundation of our liberty.

The stronger ties we have to an unalterable pursuit of happiness in general, which is our greatest good, and which, as such, our desires always follow, the more are we free from any necessary determination of our will to any particular action So, for example, although my body might present me with a strong urge to indulge in that chocolate brownie, my reason knows that ultimately the brownie is not in my best interest.

Because it will not lead to my "true and solid" happiness which indicates the overall quality or satisfaction with life. If we go back to Locke, then, we see that the "pursuit of happiness" as envisaged by him and by Jefferson was not merely the pursuit of pleasure, property, or self-interest although it does include all of these.

We would all do well to keep this in mind when we begin to discuss the "American" concept of happiness. Read full passage from An Essay Concerning Human Understanding A little Background John Locke was one of the great English philosophers, making important contributions in both epistemology and political philosophy.

His two Treatises of Government helped to pave the way for the French and American revolutions. Modern-day libertarians hail Locke as their intellectual hero.

Thus he explains the processes by which ideas are abstracted from the impressions received by the mind through sense-perception. As an empiricist, Locke claims that the mind begins with a completely blank slate, and is formed solely through experience and education. The doctrines of innate ideas and original sin are brushed aside as relics of a pre-Newtonian mythological worldview.

There is no such thing as human nature being originally good or evil: If it be farther asked, what moves desire? I answer happiness and that alone.

Happiness and Misery are the names of two extremes, the utmost bound where we know not But of some degrees of both, we have very lively impressions, made by several instances of Delight and Joy on the one side and Torment and Sorrow on the other; which, for shortness sake, I shall comprehend under the names of Pleasure and Pain, there being pleasure and pain of the Mind as well as the Body Happiness then in its full extent is the utmost Pleasure we are capable of, and Misery the utmost pain.

John locke and the declaration of independence essay

Locke gives the example of alcohol, which promises short term euphoria but is accompanied by unhealthy affects on the mind and body. Most people are simply irrational in their pursuit of short-term pleasures, and do not choose those activities which would really give them a more lasting satisfaction.

He points out that happiness is the foundation of liberty, insofar as it enables us to use our reason to make decisions that are in our long-term best-interest, as opposed to those that simply afford us immediate gratification.

Thus we are able to abstain from that glass of wine, or decide to help a friend even when we would rather stay at home and watch television.

John locke and the declaration of independence essay

Unlike the animals which are completely enslaved to their passions, our pursuit of happiness enables us to rise above the dictates of nature. As such, the pursuit of happiness is the foundation of morality and civilization.

If we had no desire for happiness, Locke suggests, we would have remained in the state of nature just content with simple pleasures like eating and sleeping. But the desire for happiness pushes us onward, to greater and higher pleasures.

Everlasting Happiness If Locke had stopped here, he would be unique among the philosophers in claiming that there is no prescription for achieving happiness, given the diversity of views about what causes happiness.

For some people, reading philosophy is pleasurable whereas for others, playing football or having sex is the most pleasurable activity.

Since the only standard is pleasure, there would be no way to judge that one pleasure is better than another.

The only judge of what happiness is would be oneself. But Locke does not stop there. Indeed, he notes that there is one fear that we all have deep within, the fear of death.

We have a sense that if death is the end, then everything that we do will have been in vain. But if death is not the end, if there is hope for an afterlife, then that changes everything. If we continue to exist after we die, then we should act in such ways so as to produce a continuing happiness for us in the afterlife.

Thus we should act virtuously in order to ensure everlasting happiness: We want to bet on the horse that has the best chance of creating happiness for us. But if we bet on hedonism, we run the risk of suffering everlasting misery.

No rational person would wish that state for oneself. Thus, it is rational to bet on the Christian horse and live the life of virtue. At worst, we will sacrifice some pleasures in this life. But at best, we will win that everlasting prize at happiness which the Bible assures us.John Locke and the Declaration of Independence In , John Locke published, what proved to be, a valuable document for the American Revolution as well as life in present day America, known as the Second Treatise of Government.

John Winthrop’s Speech. John Winthrop’s speech and the Declaration of Independence share a connection to English philosopher John Locke’s ideals on liberty. In Winthrop’s speech, he talks about the need for man to be subject to some kind of authority in civil liberty.

John Locke's Theories in The Declaration of Independence When looking at the Declaration of Independence and the justifications which Jefferson used in order to encourage the dissolve of the ties between the United Colonies and Great Britain, it becomes apparent how much of the theories of John Locke that Jefferson used as the basis for his argument.

4 Essay Concerning Human Understanding, but meant Locke's Second Treatise on leslutinsduphoenix.comnwald also argued that Jefferson was "stating a political and not a moral philosophy,"4 and therefore equality was of a political nature.

In The Declaration of Independence,5 Carl Becker also argued that Locke was the key to understanding Jefferson's Declaration.

declaration of independence essays The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson in the year of It was signed on the date of July 4th, This document was written under great circumstances.

The main reasons that this was written was because the . John Locke and the Declaration of Independence Kenneth D. Stern* N AN ARTICLE 1 published in the Journal of the American Bar Association in , Dean Clarence Manion, then Dean of the.

Who is John Locke? - John Locke Foundation