John Locke

John Locke, a writer, philosopher, political theorist and activist and medical doctor and researcher, was one of the most influential figures in modern western civilization. His writings provided a good deal of the foundational thought from which later philosophers such as Emanuel Kant and Hume. His political ideas including “government with the consent of the governed” and the rights of life, liberty and property were a major influence on many of the founding fathers of the United States including Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Locke argued for government based on checks and balances and felt that protest and revolution was necessary to prevent and remedy tyranny. We can see the influence of Locke’s ideas on our own Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

“A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be little the better for anything else.”

“All wealth is the product of labor.”

“To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.”

“We are like chameleons; we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.”

“What worries you, masters you.”

“It is easier for a tutor to command than to teach.”

“An excellent man, like precious metal, is in every way invariable; a villain, like the beams of a balance, is always varying, upwards and downwards.”

“The dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of good.”

“Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip.”

“The thoughts that come often unsought, and, as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have.”

“New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.”

“Nature never makes excellent things for mean or no uses.”

“Our deeds disguise us. People need endless time to try on their deeds, until each knows the proper deeds for him to do. But every day, every hour, rushes by. There is no time.”

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

“There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse.”

– John Locke (1632 – 1704)

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