wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
search bar left
search bar right

John Locke - Philosophy and GovernmentJohn Locke - Philosophy and Government


John Locke (1632-1704)


English philosopher (pictured right),

Thomas Jefferson's (pictured right below) American Declaration of Independence was greatly influenced by Locke's ideas on government and people’s rights. John Locke - Philosophy and Government


What did his three major works say?


A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689)

This supported:

 John Locke - Philosophy and Government

a) health and liberty for everybody

But you can’t force people to be healthy. They must want to be healthy and help themselves.


b) religious toleration

Different religions must be tolerated and protected, because religion is a private matter for each individual.

People can’t be forced to believe something, because belief he is “an inward persuasion of the mind”.


An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)

Everything we know comes from experience, based on:

  • reflection.
  • what our five senses tell us (particularly seeing and hearing).

Locke divided ideas into:

  • simple ideas (which cannot be created by us e.g. hot and cold).
  • complex ideas (produced by the mind). John Locke - Philosophy and Government

His tips for creativity are: 


a) think for yourself 

  • don’t follow other people’s ideas.
  • hate dogma.


b) question everything

Don’t accept any idea until it has been proved by fact, observation and experimentation.


c) welcome other people’s ideas

Accept the good ones, because nobody knows everything.

So love humility and hate arrogance.


Second Treatise of Government (1690)

Everyone is

  • equal
  • born with certain natural (or inalienable) rights that can’t be taken away by the government

These rights include:

  • liberty (freedom to do what you want so long as you don’t harm anybody else).
  • ownership and possession of property. John Locke - Philosophy and Government
  • rebel and overthrow an unelected government (like the Americans did).
  • health and the pursuit of happiness.

To be happy you must have:

  • libertyJohn Locke - Philosophy and Government
  • morality (making the right choices). 
  • responsibility (helping yourself).

The government must be elected by the people.


Key quote on leadership

Tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right.


Key quote on knowledge management

No man’s knowledge can go beyond his experience.


Key quote on ethics and integrity

The discipline of desire is the background of character.

Free Newsletter
Enter your name and e-mail address to receive our free newsletter with analysis of business issues and new business books