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John Locke, Thomas Paine,

and their Influence on the

United States

John Locke Thomas Paine

Who was John Locke
• Lived from 1632-1704
• During the Enlightenment Period
• Studied at the University of Oxford
• Studied medicine
• Was an English philosopher living during the Enlightenment
• Is regarded as one of the most influential Enlightenment
• Writings focused on topics such as political philosophy and
• Commonly referred to as the “Father of Liberalism”.
Who was John Locke?

• His ideas on liberty and social contract influenced the writings of

the Founding Fathers of the United States
• Locke’s Second Treatise was very influential on the writing of
the Declaration of Independence, as well as the Constitution
Philosophy of John Locke
• In Two Treatises of Government, Locke claims that men are free by
• At the time, there was a belief that men were created to be
naturally subjected to a monarch.
• Locke was strongly anti-Absolutism.
• Did not believe a monarchy was the government to best serve
the people.
• Locke argued that people have rights such as life, liberty, and
Philosophy of John Locke

• Supported a government which was the result of a “social

• This means that citizens willingly transfer some of their rights
onto the government in order to better protect the rights of
people and promote the common good of all.
• Because it is the role of the government to serve the people,
the people have the responsibility to rise up and form a new
government if the current one is not doing its job.
Philosophy of John Locke
• Believes that a government should operate on the basis of
majority rule.
• Locke believed there should be a separation between legislative
(creates laws) and executive (implements/enforces laws) powers.
• In Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration, he stated leaders do not
have the right to force citizens to practice a religion.
• This belief of Locke influenced the American belief that there
should be a separation of Church and State.
John Locke Quotes
• “All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to
harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” (Second
• “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights , that among these are Life,
Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” (Declaration of
John Locke Quotes
• “People are not so easily got out of their old forms as some are
apt to suggest. They are hardly to be prevailed with to amend the
acknowledged faults in the frame they have been accustomed
to.” (Second Treatise)
• “All experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed
to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves
by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
(Declaration of Independence)
John Locke Quotes

• “But if a long train of abuses, prevarications, and artifices, all tending the
same way, make the design visible to the people… ‘Tis 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 ends for which government was
at first erected.” (Second Treatise)
• “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.” (Declaration of
John Locke Video

Who was Thomas Paine

• Lived from 1737-1809

• Born in the United Kingdom and died in New York City
• Was and English American writer and pamphleteer
• Works such as “The Rights of Man”, “Common Sense”, and
“The Age of Reason” greatly influenced later American beliefs.
• His works also influenced the language used in the
Declaration of Independence
Philosophy of Thomas Paine
• Believed the American Colonists should have a full-scale revolt
against Britain.
• This belief was presented in his pamphlet, “Common Sense”,
which was published January 10, 1776.
• “Common Sense” initiated debate among the Colonists and
convinced many people to support a revolution.
• Instead of using philosophical ideas, “Common Sense” used
biblical references to communicate more effectively with the
common man.
Philosophy of Thomas Paine
• Thomas Paine was against institutionalized religion.
• This was expressed in “The Age of Reason”, which was
published in 1794.
• Believed institutionalized religion was used for corruption and
political gain.
• Also challenged the validity of the Bible.
• “The Age of Reason” was very controversial. The British
government even arrested anyone who tried to publish or
distribute it.
Thomas Paine Quotes
• “In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture
chronology, there were no kings; the consequence of which was
there were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throws mankind
into confusion.” (Common Sense)
• “It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet
our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the
world.” (Common Sense)
• “O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the
tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth.” (Common Sense)
Thomas Paine Quotes
• “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by
the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church,
by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My
own mind is my own church.” (The Age of Reason)
• “I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to
his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to
mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of
himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the
right of changing it.” (The Age of Reason)
Thomas Paine Video