Site Loader
Rock Street, San Francisco

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence, and John Locke (1632-1704), author of Second Treatise of Civil Government, shared many similarities in their writings. Both of the documents are about the idea of government run by the people. These documents are anti tyranny and promote fair and equal ways of living. Additionally, the documents contain ideas for the people and not for personal gain. Even though there may be a huge time gap between the two authors, traces of Locke’s ideas, stated in his essays, are portrayed in Thomas Jefferson’s writing. The three main ideas embodied into Jefferson’s document, that come from Locke, are, the people’s right to overthrow the government, the right to life, liberty, and happiness, and the aspects of life that the State of Nature leaves wanting.As stated in both documents, the people are allowed to overthrow a government if it misuses its powers. Just as Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence, “… whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it …”.  The “ends” are the boundaries and limits to a government’s powers. The term, “destructive”, in the quote, means that the government has expanded or mistreats their power causing the people to become angry. Both Locke and Jefferson believed that when this happens it is the people’s right to be able to overthrow the government. Without this right the people would have to live with a government they would disapprove of. As Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “… 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…” An example of a government that misused its powers was Britain before the Revolutionary War. The King of Britain refused the colonists Assent to Laws or the right to pass laws of their choice, forbade his governors to pass important laws, and took away the opportunity for others to be elected into office. These laws that aided no one, but himself were a big part of how the revolutionary war began.The two authors established several values that were important for all people. They believed that without these three traits the government would turn into a monarchy or a form of the state of nature;  “…with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Unalienable in the quote means that the people’s rights are unable to be taken away from or given away. These three final “Rights”, as procured from Jefferson, were the building blocks upon which their theory was born. The theory that all people should have rights and be peaceful. As Jefferson stated “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator..” In the quote, “All men are created equal” is an example of the people’s unalienable rights. With these rights the people would be able to have sovereignty. This was an important thing to have since no one wanted the government to have all the power. As long as the people have sovereignty, the government can not turn into a monarchy. An example of someone who was against these rights was Thomas Hobbes. His idea was to have that all people are inherently evil and that in order to be happy they would give their sovereignty to a sovereign or ruler over them. Locke and Jefferson both found that this was not the right idea and the people must have their unalienable rights.The State of Nature, which has no laws or restrictions, allows people to do whatever they want and leaves three major aspects of life to be wanted by them. The first aspect is the want of an established, settled, known law, received and allowed by common consent. Meaning that, as John Locke said, “… to be the standard of right and wrong, and the common measure to decide all controversies between them.” In this quote John Locke is stating that because there is no measure of right and wrong the people in the state of nature join a government to assure themselves that the laws will protect their life, liberty, and, property. Secondly, in the State of Nature man wants an indifferent judge to settle all disputes towards their property. In the State of Nature there is no common judge, because, every individual has their own sovereignty, answers to only themselves and is their own judge. It’s means that every individual has their own definition of right and wrong and can act on their belief. The last aspect the people want, in the State of Nature, is the power to back and support the sentence when right, and give it due execution. In other words people want the power to support causes and voice their opinion in the government. As said by Thomas Jefferson, “… and that as Free and Independent States, they have full power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”  Jefferson is trying to put across the point, that when joining or creating a new government you should have many powers, such as the power to, as the people, choose whether or not to go to war, create laws for the people, and to establish trading posts with other countries. All these rights are examples of the people’s sovereignty which is needed.Although the two documents were written many years apart you can still find many aspects that they share. Things, such as, the people’s power to overthrow the government, the unalienable rights, and the aspects of life that the State of Nature leaves wanting. Even though these are the three most important factors that the documents share there are many others that are not as important to the beginning of government. Both of these documents represent the reasons to why government and democracy are born and why they are used. After all of this evidence it is obvious that John Locke’s ideas on government are linked to Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.

Post Author: admin

x

Hi!
I'm Velma!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out