John Locke (August 29, 1632 - October 28, 1704), the empirical philosopher and physician, was born in Somerset, England. Studying at Westminster School and later Oxford, John Locke became very well-versed in the world of medicine. But, Locke is most famous for his contribution to the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Known as the “Father of Liberalism,” John Locke influenced Voltaire, Rousseau, and many others, including the American revolutionaries. Politics, economy, and psychology are all areas in which John Locke theorized.

His major contributions to our way of life (via Thomas Jefferson) were his viewpoints on classical republicanism and his liberal theory. Classical republicanism, or civil humanism, focuses on political liberty. Liberal theory, or liberalism, was a movement toward self-government. It encouraged self-determination and the primacy of the individual and the nation. Thomas Jefferson greatly admired John Locke, and considered him one of the “…greatest men the world has ever produced.” Jefferson later wrote the Declaration of Independence and wove in these concepts of classical republicanism and liberal theory. John Locke’s ideals were key to what we consider fundamentally “American” viewpoints, such as the concept of inalienable rights.