Born this day, August 29,in 1632 – John Locke, English physician and philosopher (d. 1704), the father of classical liberalism. Much of his thinking on classical republicanism and liberalism can be seen in the Declaration of Independence.
Empiricism and political philosophy were among his areas of profound influence. Locke believed that people were born with a blank slate for a mind which he called the "tabula rasa." Our knowledge would be gained by experience and perception.
Locke was influenced by the Baptist fathers, Smythe and Helwys with regard to religious toleration and his advocacy of the separation of church and state. When Roger Williams founded Rhode Island, he incorporated may of Locke's ideas.
He profoundly influences Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.
Of him, Jefferson wrote:
"Bacon, Locke and Newton… I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences."
About "the self," Locke wrote,
"that conscious thinking thing, (whatever substance, made up of whether spiritual, or material, simple, or compounded, it matters not) which is sensible, or conscious of pleasure and pain, capable of happiness or misery, and so is concerned for itself, as far as that consciousness extends."
Locke believed that the Bible was in agreement with human reason. His concept of man began with his understanding of creation. Based upon this, the American Declaration of Independence affirmed human rights partially on the biblical belief in creation.
" But there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotion, and that is oppression." - A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689)
"To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues."
- Letter to Anthony Collins (29 October 1703)
Works by John Locke at Project Gutenberg - https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/2447