Color portrait of English philosopher John Locke.

John Locke

(1632 - 1704)

John Locke developed his theories on government and civil liberty in defense of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and intended to counter the argument in favor of absolute monarchy put forward by his contemporary Thomas Hobbes. Having served as a professor and unlicensed family physician, he only began to write his major works, Two Treatises of Government and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, when he was nearly sixty. Regarded as the father of the English Enlightenment, Locke was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1668, and died in Essex at the age of seventy-two in 1704.

All Writing

The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.

—John Locke, 1695

Play, wherein persons of condition, especially ladies, waste so much of their time, is a plain instance to me that men cannot be perfectly idle; they must be doing something, for how else could they sit so many hours toiling at that which generally gives more vexation than delight to people whilst they are actually engaged in it?

—John Locke, 1693

One great reason why many children abandon themselves wholly to silly sports and trifle away all their time insipidly is because they have found their curiosity baulked and their inquiries neglected.

—John Locke, 1693

We should have a great many fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.

—John Locke, 1690

There is not so contemptible a plant or animal that does not confound the most enlarged understanding.

—John Locke, 1689

Issues Contributed