John Locke, a renowned physician and philosopher, was born on August 29, 1932, in a small village in the English county of Somerset, Wrington. His father worked as a country lawyer and served as a caption in the Parliamentarian forces during the English civil war. His parents were staunch Puritans, and thus, he was raised with Puritan sentiments as well. Due to his father’s services for the Parliamentarian forces and allegiance to the new English government, Locke received brilliant academic opportunities. In 1647, he was admitted to the Westminster School in London. He received the distinguished honor of earning the title of a ‘King’s Scholar’, an award presented to a very few selected students, and it provided John with the opportunity to attend the prestigious Christ Church, Oxford in 1652. At Oxford’s most prestigious school, he studied logic, metaphysics and classical language. He graduated in 1656, and two year later, he returned to Christ Church to pursue a Masters in Arts degree. During this period, he took up various tutorial jobs at the college. He was elected as a Fellow at the Royal Society, in 1668. In 1674, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in medicine.
Locke began his career with accepting the post of a personal physician to the Earl of Shaftsbury, who was a close friend of his. He moved to London, and his duties increased along with the rise in Shaftsbury’s position. Locke began assisting the earl on business and political matters, and upon Shaftsbury’s promotion to Chancellor, John Locke was appointed his secretary of presentations. Shaftsbury strong political influence in the parliament had a strong impact on Locke’s professional and political training. Locke composed the Two Treatises of Government, where he presented his ideas of the natural rights entitled to human beings and also put forward the social contract. This document, later, served as an influence for the American and French revolution.
However, Locke had to leave England in 1683, after the failure of the Rye House Plot. He was exiled to Holland, where he published his famous composition spanned on a series of four books, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which analysed the nature and limitations of human knowledge. The essay was published in 1688, upon his return to his homeland at the eve of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 that shifted the balance of power in the hands of the parliament. John received the status of a hero amongst his countrymen.
After returning to England, Locke made numerous contributions to the field of academics and philosophy. Some of his highly acclaimed books include A Letter Concerning Toleration, The Reasonableness of Christianity and Some Thoughts Concerning Education. Locke was an active supporter of the Whig party, and he also remained an active participant in the affairs of the government until his death. He was also among the founding members of the re-initiators of the Board of Trade, which was responsible for over-seeing and securing England’s interest in the newly explored territories of North America. Locke was among the key members of the board.
John Locke’s health began to deteriorate and he passed away on October 28, 1704 in Essex. His philosophies and teachings influence the study of Western though to this date. He has influenced numerous preeminent European philosophers including Enlightenment thinker, Voltaire, with his revolutionary theories on the separation of Church and State, religious freedom and liberty. Locke’s work also influenced Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, the dynamic personalities who laid the foundation of America.