by Dr. Troy Kickler
Senior Fellow and Managing Director, North Carolina History Curriculum Project
Today is John Locke’s birthday.
The philosopher greatly contributed to the formation of Carolina and influenced the American founding. He penned several notable works. One was The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina (1669). It was never formally adopted, but it included many ideas that were reiterated in subsequent works.
A Letter Concerning Toleration emphasized the separation of church and state (1689). Two Treatises of Government (1689) may be his most popular and influential work. In the first treatise he rejects the concept of the divine right of kings. In the second, he argues that legitimacy does not come from the crown; it derives from the consent of the governed. Furthermore, government exists to protect property. He also argued the right to revolution.
Such thinking influenced the American founders and framers to be concerned about “life, liberty, and property.” To learn more about John Locke and more concerning his writings, click here.