John Locke

Foundation for the Founding Fathers and the First Principles

The Founding Fathers drew heavily upon English philosopher John Locke in establishing America’s First Principles, most notably the recognition of unalienable rights, the Social Compact, and limited government.

Born on August 29, 1632, in Wrington, England, Locke was trained as a physician, but quickly became an influential political theorist closely associated with the Whig party of England.  He wrote several revolutionary political works, including Some Thoughts Concerning Education, A Letter Concerning Toleration, and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

Locke’s most profound and influential writings were his First and Second Treatise of Civil Government (1689).  Written to defend the Glorious Revolution of 1688, in the Second Treatise, Locke explained that in a state of nature men and women were free to pursue and defend there own interests, which resulted in a brutal state of war.  To escape this warfare, individuals established government to secure the peace. Locke noted that there could be “no freedom” without a Social Compact of laws, because “liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be where there is no law.” 

Unlike his English rival Thomas Hobbes, Locke argued that because governments were instituted to protect the unalienable rights of individuals, they had no power other than what was necessary to protect such rights.  In other words, a free and just government was necessarily a limited government.

His sentiments are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and undergird the Constitution.

He died on October 28, 1704.   


For more about our Founding Fathers and their importance to our liberties today, buy a copy of America’s Survival Guide.

Picture:  Sir Gotfrey Kneller.



More Praise for America's Survival Guide

"America's Survival Guide is a bold and insightful work that should be taken seriously by those concerned with the future of America. We ignore it at our peril."
Congressman Joe Knollenberg


"America's Survival Guide describes with detail and passion the dangers that come from abandoning the "First Principles" upon which this nation was founded. But this important book offers more than a diagnosis and despair, it presents a reasoned program for restoring the U.S. Constitution its proper place at the center of American society and government. The book draws on history, politics and education to make a powerful case for freedom and fighting for it."

--John Engler, former Governor of Michigan

Read more praise for America's Survival Guide