John Locke Research Paper

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Influence of John Locke on the American Founding Fathers
Today, the American state is considered one of the most positive examples of democracy in the whole world. American citizens can boast of high quality of life, economic and social well being, human rights protection, political freedom, and many other benefits resulting from advanced democratic development. Furthermore, the United States of America play the role of the main promoter and safe-guard of democratic ideology in the modern society worldwide. This state of things is, of course, a result of a consistent work of whole generations, but one can not ignore the importance of the historical roots of the USA’s ideology and political origins, which go back to the eighteenth century, the era of Enlightenment. Steven Dworetz, a famous political expert of nowadays, stressed the importance of examination of the political ideas that influenced the country’s founding. In his work “The Unvarnished Doctrine: Locke, Liberalism, and the American Revolution” he mentioned that “…a society’s understanding of its founding doctrine is an integral part of its self-consciousness and the ultimate source of its sense of purpose and normative vision (Dworetz, 1990).” According to the author, the ideology of the founding of a particular state influences dramatically the standards by which citizens evaluate contemporary events of social and political life. The ideology of the state’s origin is a fundament for the further development, and, in many cases, it defines which direction the political development of a country will take and how far will it be able to progress. Another researcher, George Mace, follows with a suggestion that the political philosophy is the quest for an understanding of political phenomena. According to Mace, “…an understanding of the nature of the American political heritage lies in the examination of the political ideas, concepts, and institutions handed down from the past and from American ancestors… (“Locke, Hobbes, and the Federalist Papers”, 1979).” Therefore, such activities as research, interpretation, and critique taken in regard to the founding ideology are of great significance for the society because these are the ways state can foster its political growth and escape the destiny of the theocratic and totalitarian regimes, which, due to their policy of political conservation and ideological censure, came to obsoleteness, decay, and aggression aimed at own citizens and at external political entities. Thus, the survey of beliefs and ideas of the founders of the American state is important not only for securing the ideological liberty and understanding the historical development of American political system, but also for defining the possible ways of future advance.

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Those political activists, known widely as Founding Fathers, who signed the Declaration of Independence and conceived the future democratic nation, carried the most progressive ideas of the Enlightenment time. Actually, the Founding Fathers were a part of the Enlightenment’s ideological innovation themselves, but they inherited a significant part of their ideas from the preceding thinkers. Most of the influence on the Founding Fathers that later appeared in their works and, of course, in the Declaration of Independence, came from the English philosopher and political theorist John Locke (1632 – 1704). Locke in his turn has inherited many ideas from the medieval philosophy, for example, from St. Thomas Aquinas and was one of the first writers who presented the idea of sovereignty of people (Palmer, “History of the Modern World”). Locke, along with such thinkers as Hobbes, carried the idea that the good government is an expedient of human purpose, neither provided by divine Providence nor inherited by national tradition. Locke claimed that the government was based on a kind of contract, or rational and conscious agreement between the people and the ruler. As many surveys show, John Locke appealed society to abolish irrational social and political practices, all abuses, all myths and superstitions, and establish wise principles, wise laws, and rational institutions (W. K. Ferguson, G. Bruun). John Locke published his ideas in 1690, justifying the Parliamentary revolution in Great Britain bringing William III to the throne, in a work Two Treatises of Government. According to Locke, any people desiring to throw off the allegiance to an unpopular government had a right to do it. At the end of the sixteenth century, the idea that the people were not created to obey the king, but that, vice versa, the kings were merely executives responsible to sovereign people and improve their life was quite a revolutionary concept. Particularly, the idea found in Locke’s Two Treaties of Government suggesting that the aim of government is to provide liberty and security, but that the citizens have a right to overthrow the government when it fails to provide either, was adopted by many revolution movements’ leaders in Europe and also by the Founding Fathers in America. As it is mentioned in the Two Treatises of Government, «… the community perpetually retains a supreme power of saving themselves from the attempts and designs of anybody, even of their legislators…“(Locke, 1690). This phrase became a push for many people to make up their minds to protest existing regimes. Americans, more than the others were moved by Locke’s philosophy, while as they came to belief that the government should possess limited powers only, and operate only within the conditions of a fixed and written constitutional document. In America, this document appeared as Declaration of Independence in 1776, and it stated the following:

“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” (The Declaration of Independence, 1776)

In this way, Americans have proclaimed their protest against English dictatorship, which has been fostered by the exhausting tax policy (for example, the Stamp Act and Townshed Act), humiliating behavior towards Americans, and attitude towards American Colony of Great Britain as a resource. Politically, this attitude was expressed in the fact, that although the Americans paid the taxes, their interests were not represented in the Parliament. As it is summarized in the Outline of the American History, the need of the colonies to be represented in the House of Commons conflicted with the English principle of “virtual representation, according to which each member of the Parliament represented the interests of the whole country, despite the fact that his electoral base consisted of only a tiny minority of property owners from a given district” (US Department of State, 1994). This practice clearly did not fit into the principle “all men are created equal” put forward by Locke, and then, argued by the Founding Fathers. “All men are created equal” provides the model of such a society, where the main complex body consists of many integral parts which are of the same importance and, therefore, have the same rights. In one case, this rule is applied to the view of a role of a citizen in the state. The Founders also implied this principle to the federal structure of the country by granting the states the equal rights. This appears in the Articles of Confederation:

“Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right…The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the security of their Liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever (1781).”

Deriving from the assumption, that a harmonic society is a macro body consisting of equal parts, another key point of what John Locke and the Founding Fathers were persuaded of was the following: the people are not a resource, as it was always perceived by monarch government, but the main power in the political interplay. Moreover, the interests of people should be the final goal and the main motivation of any governmental and political activity undertaken by the state officials. All in all, Locke and the Founding Fathers give people the power to direct the course of nation’s development and chose the nation’s destiny. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security (The Declaration of Independence, 1776).”

This is extremely close to the world views of John Locke, as it is outlined in his essay Concerning Civil Government:
“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…(Locke, 1693, Ch. 19).”

As it becomes clear from the comparison of the two passages, both Locke and the Fathers underline the idea of mediation between the Government and the people. Although they stress the right of the people to overthrow the government, neither Locke nor the Fathers promote anarchy, aggression, or political extremism. In their writings, the both sides underline the fact, that the reason for a revolution or any kind of serious protest against the government is justified only by long lasting and serious abuse of people’s rights. Probably, the most important writing of John Locke for the appearance of the American Constitution and the state structure is the Two Treatises on the Government. The first Locke’s treatise argues the arguments in favor of the divine rights of kings that were put forward by several philosophers of his time. The second treatise contains the most important principles of Locke’s political theory. Here Locke presented his famous ethical argument concerning the hypothetical state of human nature in which humans enjoyed most of their natural rights without the state. Most of Locke’s theories appear from this postulation, for example, the idea that property can be freely exchanged, sold, or accumulated is that natural right of a human being. This made Locke argue against government’s right for interference in the economic and social activities of a country. In the Second Treatise of Civil Government, Locke also claimed that nothing can justify the confiscation of people’s property and putting constraints on their liberty in a state, where people live in the conditions of freedom. Locke also suggested that any government is required and set up by people. Therefore, being the product of the people’s will, all government is conditional, according to John Locke. This conclusion speaks against the concept of absolute power that monarchy regimes enjoyed in the past. Locke proposed that the main role of the state should be limited to protecting life, liberty, and property from specific predatory members of the society whom Locke referred to as “the quarrelsome and the contentious.(Locke, 1690)» This all leads to the conclusion that the government should possess the limited powers only, while its role is limited too. These thoughts are resembled in John Madison’s writings, i.e. in The Federalist Papers. Madison also pointed out the ideas of limited power of government. James Madison understood also the problem of giving the government the right portion of power: sufficient to provide necessary authority for protecting its citizens, but not big enough to allow corruption. Madison was very concerned about the problem of guaranteeing both the security of the few and the liberty of the many (Federalist Papers, 1788), which he outlined in his Federalist Papers as follows:

«Energy in government is essential to that security against external and internal danger and to that prompt and salutary execution of the law, which enter into the very definition of good government. Stability in government is essential to national character. . . On comparing, however, these valuable ingredients with the vital principles of liberty, we must perceive at once the difficulty of mingling them in their due proportions (Madison, 1788).»

The first American President, George Washington, in one of his most famous sayings outlined eloquently and deeply the importance of civil responsibility as the key concept in the operation of government. Washington said: «Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is a force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action (J. Marshall, R. Faulkner, “The Life of George Washington”)». In his comment, Washington outlines the danger of the power corruption and urges government towards honest fulfillment of its function: provide the well being of the people. The theme of government’s responsibility also appears in the writings of John Adams. Adams argued the point adopted by totalitarian and monarchy regimes that the ruler’s efficiency is defined by his administration, and not by the form of the government, while as the “order in the country” was considered the sign of well being. In Thoughts on Government Adams argues that the main function and goal of the government is to serve people, and strive towards people’s well being and happiness: “the form of government which communicates ease, comfort, security, or, in one word, happiness, to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree, is the best(John Adams, 1776).” Adams also criticized the existing governments for their actions of depressing the population and exercising their power and authority to achieve people’s obedience first of all. Adams was of a strong opinion that such suppression and fear should be eliminated in the American society. John Adams wrote:

“Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it (Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776).”
Adams proposes that tools of fear and obedience should be replaced by understanding, honor, and virtue. On one hand, his definitions are very close to the principles of “common sense” and “rationality” argued by John Locke. However, Adams goes even further by alluding to such a concept as patriotism by defining the foundation of the government as “some principle or passion in the minds of the people”. The contemporary political scientist, and the author of several books and publications, Jerome Huyler is of an opinion that, in understanding of the Founding Fathers, the thing that makes the government effective, is unity, in the sense of joining, in common cause, to resist that king or parliament that «evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism (Locke in America, 1995).» Huyler means that this feeling of citizen responsibility, or patriotism, is displayed in forming committees of correspondence to share grievances and organize resistance measures. As the author mentions:

It could cause patriots to put down their plowshares and pick up their muskets, or stand tall on Concord Bridge. On July 4, 1776, it led fifty-six brave men, speaking for their respective colonies, «to pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor (Locke in America, Huyler, 1995).”

As for the particular form government took, this question did not greatly concern Locke; the only exception was his opposition to absolute monarchy. The limitation of powers he promoted came primarily through a separation of executive and legislative roles derived mainly from the sovereignty of the people. Locke claimed that the effectiveness and honest work of the government can only take place when “…the executive power placed anywhere but in a person that has also a share in the legislative (Two Treatises of Government, Ch 152).” Locke referred to the decision to form a government as the original state document – the constitution. Constitution was the source of such a big authority, that a particular governing power at a particular time period could not ignore it. Moreover, the constitution was to provide guidance for the legislative power, and not vice versa.

“In all cases whilst the government subsists, the legislative is the supreme power. For what can give laws to another must needs be superior to him … the legislative must needs be the supreme, and all other powers in any members or parts of the society derived from and subordinate to it(Two Treatises on Government, Ch 150).”

So, according to the views of Locke, a constitution is the fundamental document defining the activities and powers of legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, and is superior to any law or a document issued by that government. The theme of elections is also present in Locke’s Treatises: “If the legislative, or any part of it, be of representatives, chosen for that time by the people, which afterwards return into the ordinary state of subjects, and have no share in the legislative but upon a new choice, this power of choosing must also be exercised by the people, either at certain appointed seasons, or else when they are summoned to it (Locke, 1690)”. The liberal theory of government and, especially, the idea of a limited constitutional regime put forward by Locke had a very remarkable influence on the forming of the American state. These principles of constitution as a written guideline, division of power between legislative, executive, and judicial branches were implemented in the formation of the United States of America. In the USA, the legislative power has taken form of two houses: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives (The Constitution of the USA, 1787).” The special importance of constitution, as of a fixed written guidance for political and social activity, is expressed in preamble to The Constitution of the USA (1787):

“to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”.

In this quote, the Fathers stress the role of constitution as being the foundation for the nation’s identity, well-being, and security. In fact, it is quite true that mostly the political history of a country starts with the issuance of its constitution. It is constitution that gives the nation power and self-confidence. During the war of 1812, James Madison, who has been the president at the time, appealed people to defend their country. Madison claimed that the American nation had the power to do this because its identity was already documented and proved by the constitution. On the war of 1812, Madison said: «I flung forward the flag of the country, sure that the people would press onward and defend it.» Under the new Constitution, the nation’s powers will be «derived from the superior power of the people (Gaillard Hunt, 1902).» Again, Madison stresses the idea that the power of the state that is assessed in a formal document, the constitution, is derived from the people, who in fact depute their power to the hands of government officials. Thus, again and again, the Founding Fathers outlined the idea that the government is not a master, but a servant.

In addition to Locke’s role as a political theorist, his system of metaphysics established the empirical and rational foundations for modern philosophy and science. The influences of Locke’s Puritan upbringing and his Whig political affiliation appears expressed in his writings. Although John Locke is widely regarded as an extremely important influence on modern ideologists and politicians, Locke also expressed ideas that contadict with the modern views. This is also normal because Locke, as any other person, is the product of his culture and time. Locke’s first major published work discribing his ideas concerning the place of the human in the world was A Letter Concerning Toleration, which contains most of Locks views in philosophy and methaphysics. The name and the content of the work were much due to the condition that religious toleration in Great Britain was a subject of great interest for many philosophers in the seventeenth century, the time of John Locke. Locke wrote several subsequent essays discussing this topic in the last years of his life. Locke’s upbringing among non-conformist Protestants resulted in his sensitivity to different theological opinions and world views. Though, Locke recoiled, from his observations the divisive character of some non-conformist religious movements. Locke became a strong supporter of the Church of England. Moreover, Locke believed that the national church was a significantly important instrument for achieving social well being and cultural agreement among people. Again, the idea of “government-the-servant” is present here. Locke viewed church a part of a government, or at least a social segment that is very close to it. This view is quite essential for the seventeenth century. In his work An Essay Concerning Toleration, Locke criticizes the philosophy of innate ideas and gives priority to empirical knowledge based on experience and logic, and to the scientific way of thinking. Adherence to such an ideology is the cause why Locke is considered predominately an empiricist, not a rationalist, in the classical view. In The Essay Concerning Human Understanding Locke also discusses personal identity of people and the factors that make up a personality and differentiate a civilized man from a salvage. Locke is generally concerned with language, and knowledge, including intuition, mathematics, moral philosophy, natural philosophy («science»), faith, opinion, and other concepts(“History of the Modern World”, Palmer). John Locke emphasized such concepts as Reason and Understanding, which he considered the attributes of a civilized man. Locke was of an opinion that “men (are) living together according to reason, without a common Superior on Earth, with Authority to judge between them, is properly the State of Nature (Two Treatises of Government).» George Mace, having researched the ideas of Locke, Hobbes, and the Founding Fathers, points out a contradiction: If this is so, why should man want to leave this sort of state? Immediately, Mace follows up with a conclusion, as it was perceived by Locke:

“The reason is that some men within this state do not live according to reason, accord, and mutual assistance. These men, whether or not noxious creatures, impose a state of war within the state of nature. Thus men of the reasonable category are given the executive and judicial power of enforcing the law of nature (“Locke, Hobbes, and the Federalist Papers”, Mace)”.

From this point of view, effective jurisdiction is quite important for the proper functioning of the society. This idea is present in Alexander Hamilton’s writings, where he underlines the importance of judicial system:
“…the exercise of a concurrent jurisdiction might be productive of occasional interferences in the POLICY of any branch of administration, but would not imply any direct contradiction or repugnancy in point of constitutional authority (Federalist Papers, No. 32, 1788).”

Education and common sence are especially important for Locke. The essense of these concepts, as perceived by Locke, and how they influenced the Founding Fathers is describen in the book by Jerome Huyler “Locke in America”. The author says:
«There cannot any one moral rule be proposed [and in Locke’s day moral philosophy included the principles of politics] whereof a Man may not justly demand a Reason. … The truth of all these moral Rules plainly depends upon some other antecedent to them, and from which they must be deduced (Huyler, p.82)»

John Locke also approved the concept of a moderate religion. According to Locke, all the men could learn from experience and had a chance to be educated to an enlightened and ethical way of life. These ideas supported the belief in self-government. Locke declared that the men in the “state of nature” were reasonable and well disposed, willing to get along with one another. Locke suggested that the people, being good in their nature, are handicapped by the absence of public authority. At the bottom of Locke’s moral philosophy are the principles of God, «self-preservation,» and «reason». In the view of the philosopher, God made man and implanted in him a strong desire for self-preservation, along with his senses and reason. They, in turn, direct him to do those things which conduce to his preservation. The Freedom then of Man and Liberty of acting according to his own Will, is grounded on his having Reason, which is able to instruct him in that Law he is to govern himself by, and make him know how far he is left to the freedom of his own will. Men likewise had a moral sense, quite independently of government. What is very important about Locke’s ideas is that he believed that men possessed by nature certain rights, quite apart from the state. These rights included the rights to life, liberty and property. Locke threw a very heavy emphasis on the right for property, under which he generally understood the right for possession of land. Men, as individuals in the state of nature, are not able to protect their rights by themselves, so that they agree to set up a government to inforce the observation of rights of all. This idea later appears in the attitudes of Roger Sherman, having been a Senator, a member of the House of Representatives, and the active politician supporting Alexander Hamilton who said: «The question is, not what rights naturally belong to man, but how they may be most equally and effectually guarded in society.» Sherman also thought that people should always fight for their rights, even if they are in minority: «When you are in a minority, talk; when you are in a majority, vote.» Locke emphasizes the idea that the relationship between people and the government is a contarct, that is, however, not unconditional, while imposing mutual obligations. The reasonableness and rationality are the characters that give people political freedom. Locke also points out the condition that liberty is not anarchy or disorder because in the liberyl society everyone has respect to others’ freedom and rights. According to Locke, there are also certain obligations imposed on the government. If the government breaks the contract, if it threatens the natural rights which it should protect, the people have right to overthrow it. The Founding Fathers built the Declaration of Independence on this principles, while justifying their act of disobedience to the British King by the facts of violation of the natural rights of Americans by him and his officials:

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world (Declaration of Independence, 1776).”
After this, the facts proving that the British government has violated the natural rights of people in America, for example: “He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. For example:

“… For imposing taxes on us without our consent. … For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments(Declaration of Independence, 1776)”.

When the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they were first of all guided by the natural rights of people, the idea of which they received from the writings of John Locke. Thus, the Declaration of Independence was more than an announcement of secession from the empire; it was a justification of rebellion against the authority reasoned by the principles of human nature and human rights.

The influence of John Locke’s ideas is clearly displayed not only in the Constitution, but also in individual works and writings of the Founding Fathers. Of nearly 15,000 items of the Founding Fathers which were reviewed; including books, newspaper articles, pamphlets, monograms, etc., John Locke was the third most frequently quoted author(“Locke, Hobbes, and the Federalist Papers” George Mace). Locke’s influence can be seen in such state documents as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and numerous papers issued during the Philadelphia Convention. Locke’s ideas also played an important role after the establishment of the American state and the first decades of the new government. In fact, the Declaration of Independence was so close to the Second Treatise of Government in form, phraseology, and content that Jefferson was even accused by some contemporary authors of simply copying from it. However, these accusations are insufficient, when the matter is viewed closely. Founding Fathers, and specifically Jefferson, did not copy the ideas of Locke, but they advanced them into a new philosophy. While Locke was convinced that the most precious rights of men were life, liberty and property, Jefferson brought a new concept – “the pursuit of happiness” – which is more complex and abstract. Thus, Jefferson’s difference from Locke is made clear in the Declaration of Independence, where Jefferson replaced Locke’s «property» by «pursuit of happiness». Although the founding fathers were big property owners, they knew that «life, liberty and property» detracted from the nobility of their own ideas, which were more daring and ethical than those described by Locke. The idea brought in by Founding Fathers dramatically expanded the whole concept of self-government and liberty described a century ago by Locke. Thomas Jefferson also outlined a concept of public control in the Declaration that is a clear advancement on Locke. There are several other areas in which Jefferson goes far beyond Locke views, for example, Locke’s theory was quite loyal to a monarchial government, whereas those of the Founding Fathers was not. In his writings, John Locke clearly promoted an ideology that approves an oligarchic system. Locke defended the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few aristocrats as Gods will. Locke’s philosophy defended the sacredness of life, liberty and property. The Founding Fathers could not accept such a world view, so they created the “pursuit” as the central key point of their philosophy. The “pursuit” means challenge to achieve whatever one wishes, under condition that it fits into the constitutional rules, by relying on ones persistence and effort, regardless to which social group or class the person belongs. Another important point is the significant difference in the perception of the role of religion in relation to government and society between Locke and the Fathers. In expressing his attitudes, Locke relied very often on Bible and on religious principles. In fact, in his Two Treatises of Government, he cited eighty references to the Bible in the first treatise and twenty-two references to the Bible in the second(Huyler, 1995). Locke labeled the set of Christian beliefs as Natural Laws, which he considered to be superior. «Laws human must be made according to the general laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made (Locke, The Second Treatise, 1690).» Although nowadays some people declare that the American state came from Christian foundations and argue that US political system represents a Christian ideal form of government, and that Jefferson, Madison, and others, had expressed Christian values in the Constitution, there is a wealth of evidence supporting the opposite. Despite the great power of religion in the seventeenth century, the most influential Founding Fathers broke away from traditional religious thinking. Instead of relying on religion, they were using reason and science as a guide. The founding Fathers supported the free exercise of any religion and understood the dangers of religion. Most of them believed in deism and were influenced by Freemasonry, which, according to the survey of John J. Robinson(1989)

«…had been a powerful force for religious freedom. Freemasons took seriously the principle that men should worship according to their own conscious. Masonry welcomed anyone from any religion or non-religion… Washington, Franklin, Hancock, Hamilton, Lafayette, and many others accepted Freemasonry (“Born in Blood”, Robinson).”

Thus, the Constitution reflects the views of a secular government, protecting the freedom of belief. Such researchers as Judith Hayes put forward the idea that some governmental acts, and particularly, the 1st Amendment aimed to ensure the free expression of any belief (“All those Christian Presidents”, 1997). Thus, one can conclude that the views of the Founding Fathers were the interpretation of Locke’s writings. As it is proved above, the Ideas of the Founding Fathers were inspired by Locke and in many ways they resembled to what the philosopher proposed in his writings. However, the men who have signed the Declaration of Independence had also their own ideas, different from Locke’s, that they were not afraid to express and implement. These men perceived their duty and their responsibility before the people to take the action and promote change. The Founding Fathers have combined the wisdom, particularly inspired by Locke, and action without which any philosophy would be useless. They were men, whose guidance is best described by the words of Thomas Jefferson: “Science is my passion, politics my duty (Autobiography of Jefferson).”

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