The Age Of Reason, Part 3 to blupete's Essay
Foremost among these new political thinkers was the Englishman, John Locke (1632-1704) who picked up on the beliefs of Bacon: "all knowledge is founded on and ultimately derives itself from sense ..." Locke, while insisting on the natural morality of pre-social man (unlike Hobbes who had espoused the view that man was a vile beast), thought it best for an individual to contract out "into civil society by surrendering personal power to the ruler and magistrates"; this, for Locke, was "a method of securing natural morality more efficiently." Thus, what was stated, was the so-called Social Contract Theory which has been so badly misapplied and overly extended by the political theorists of this century. So, too, it was Locke who wrote, that if the "ruling body offends against natural law; it must be deposed": this was the philosophical stuff which sanctioned the rebellions of both the American colonialists in 1775, and the people of France in 1789. Incidentally, it is the political, legal and constitutional views of Locke which are at the core of all modern western democracies. All have been modelled after the first of them, the United States of America; Locke's views having been carefully drafted into its Constitution of 1787.
As I go about giving an answer (irrefragable, I think) to the popular theories that we might legislate laws and thus resolve our great social problems in one stroke, I shall, in other pages, as are listed in the subject index, make extensive reference to the lives and works of those authors to whom I have referred and to numerous other classical thinkers. But, now, I am obliged to hurry along in this, my introductory note to the subject of law.
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