John Locke

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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John Locke, a seventeenth century philosopher, is best known for his theory of Enlightment. In fact, Enlightment went on to become a little more then a theory and has turned into a movement, a way of life. Locke's ideas, although at first may appear difficult were in reality fairly simple. He believed that men naturally live in a State of Nature. In the State of Nature all men are equal to each other there is no government above them. They are all entitled to freedom of their actions, but within the bounds of the law of nature. People could appropriate land and things needed to live, but 3 limitations applied. 1. They could only take what they needed 2. They could only take so much that it wouldn't spoil. 3. They could only take the things that they put their labor into. These three limitations made life a lot simpler.

Locke believed that each man is entitled to his natural rights. The natural rights of a man are life, liberty and property. These rights have originated from the very beginning, from G-d. In the later years, The Declaration of Independence started out with these rights. However, The State of Nature underwent two stages, introduction of money is what divided it in two. Locke believed that human nature is naturally good, however with the introduction of money they become corrupt greedy and class stratification is established. In fact, with the introduction of money the tree limitations of appropriation were immediately disregarded due to the fact that money does not spoil. Hence, you can take as much as you need and everyone knows no one ever has enough money. Further more the point of putting your labor into the things you can take, well with the introduction of money people...