John Locke (1632-1704) is an English materialist philosopher. Locke's research was based on the use of the empirical method of knowledge, this philosopher laid the foundations of liberalism.
John Locke agreed with the pre-existing ideas of popular sovereignty, natural law and inalienable individual freedoms, the ability of the people to legally rebel against the tyrant, and also shared the idea of a social contract. However, previously known teachings were supplemented by this philosopher.
John Locke developed the doctrine of early bourgeois liberalism. Locke spoke about certain natural human rights that cannot be alienated by anyone (the right to life, freedom and property).
The state formed by means of a social contract is called upon to guarantee the inalienability of these rights and to be able to ensure the safety of every citizen. The social contract determines the form of the state, as well as the structure of government (Locke singled out the constitutional monarchy as preferred).
"On Government" is the main work of John Locke, which is devoted to political and legal topics. More precisely, this philosopher created the doctrine of social compromise. Its essence was laid down by Locke in "Two Treatises on Government" (1690). The first treatise on government lends itself to criticism that judgment that absolute royal power has a divine right. The second treatise on government includes the theory of a constitutional parliamentary monarchy. This treatise substantiated the political system that was approved in England in the field of 1688. In this work, the philosopher concluded that the revolution that took place (directed against monarchical despotism) is the height of justice and civil reason. Of course, social and political issues worried John Locke before. Already in 1667, his work "Experience of religious tolerance, which was permeated with the doctrine of the social contract, which was progressive for its time," appeared.
The goal of the state is to ensure natural human rights. According to Locke, the state arises as a result of the agreement of people as a guarantee of the protection of personality and property, freedom and equality. The need for the formation of a state is associated with the fact that in the natural state there are no bodies that would be able to impose penalties for those who violated existing laws. It is the state that is called upon to impartially resolve disputes that have arisen. The totality of people is united into one whole under the auspices of the state, which is guided by a law common to all. At the same time, it seems expedient to create a kind of court, in the competence of which there should be the right to find a compromise between people and subject criminals to punishment. Thus, the state is endowed with political power. When drawing up a social contract, people give up some of their rights, for example, the right to independent self-defense. Ensuring the safety of every citizen becomes a privilege and responsibility of the state.
The natural rights of the individual represent the constitutional basis of the legal order. It is the rights to life, liberty and property that make legislation in general possible. The constitutions of many early bourgeois states included in their composition exactly the triple legal formula proposed by Locke. It was these natural human rights that played the role of a kind of "cell" that gave rise to a more differentiated content of "human and civil rights". The three fundamental human rights are not external to each other - they interact. A property right, for example, is a resultant right. The right to life and freedom is a prerequisite for the emergence of the right to freely dispose of property.
A person is endowed with inalienable rights from birth. We are talking about such natural rights as the right to life, liberty and property. And since these rights cannot be alienated, the power of the state in this regard is limited - it is not omnipotent. Moreover, the fundamental goal of the political community is the ability of every person to realize and maintain their civic interests. The question arises: by what means? The answer to it is as follows: separation of powers is necessary to better ensure the rule of law, the choice of the best form of government for the nation. In addition, the people should have the right to revolt if there is an abuse of power. There are other means as well. Sustainability and stability are indispensable features of the law. A law becomes actually a law only if it indicates to a person that behavior that does not contradict the interests of a particular person and, at the same time, is in accordance with the interests of the whole society. Laws are proclaimed by the people. That person (or group of persons) in power must govern the state only within the framework of these established by the majority of laws. Each person who is part of a single political body is obliged to act by the decision of the majority, which is the final decision.
Locke advocated the principle of separation of powers. The philosopher spoke about the impossibility of concentrating power only in one hand. The first branch is the legislature. It must be represented by parliament, that is, the representative institution of the entire nation. The third branch is the federal government, which is associated with relations with foreign states. The issues of this branch may also be under the jurisdiction of the monarch and the cabinet of ministers. The listed branches of government are in interaction with each other. The supreme power belongs to the legislature, which, nevertheless, is actively influenced by other authorities. This influence is due to the established normative balances.
The social contract determines the form of the state. It follows from this that the basis for choosing a form of state is the voluntary consent of people to it. They are the ones who choose the proper governance structure. This is done proceeding from the possibility of this or that structure to ensure the protection of the natural rights and freedoms of each person. As the preferred structure of government for the people, John Locke called the constitutional monarchy.
The people have higher sovereignty than the state. That is why, if the people are not satisfied with how the ruler fulfills the circumstances of the drawn up social contract, then he has every right to revolt.
John Locke's teachings served as the basis for constitutional practice. It is about the constitutional practice of the North American states. This includes the famous Bills of Rights. John Locke was the first among philosophers to participate in the development of the first founding act of state. Locke is the author of the constitution for North Carolina, which the philosopher wrote on the recommendation of Shefstbury. This constitution was supported by the people's assembly. In 1669 it entered into force.
Social contract theory was grounded in time. By its appearance, philosophical and legal ideas were understood by fairly wide democratic strata of society. in addition, in the mass movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, there were some legal requests. The latter were just adopted by the innovative philosophy of law. The bourgeois democratic legislative will was reflected in the teachings of John Locke.
"Equality without equalization" is a paradoxical idea of John Locke. The idea itself does not belong to this philosopher, it arose earlier. In England, it can be seen for the first time in the writings of Hobbes. However, this is how John Locke interpreted equality. This concept did not imply the imposition of an equalization of property. Equality according to Locke is not connected with the preventive equalization of everyone in terms of property, strength and ability. Rather, it was about equalizing the right of all people to personal initiative, equality of claims and opportunities. In this regard, no one can deprive a person of the right to participate in competition, that is, refute his status as an economically independent subject. According to Locke, equality of opportunity is especially important. It is this that will eliminate unnatural privileges — those privileges that make some people rich and powerful.
John Locke is the first modern thinker. This can be said without any exaggeration. The way of reasoning of this philosopher was very different from the thinking of the philosophers of the Middle Ages. One of the differences is that the consciousness of a person of the medieval era was all permeated with thoughts about the otherworldly world. For the mind of John Locke, empiricism and practicality were characteristic. It was the mind of an enterprising man. The philosopher was also interested in questions related, for example, to what is the use of poetry. John Locke believed that a person should be supported by those responsibilities that are imposed on him in the world where he lives.
John Locke despised London society. Rather, the philosopher was still far from contempt. Locke found it difficult to endure the stuffiness of the city, but he was forced to move in London society. This was facilitated by the success of his writings. John Locke suffered from asthma for a significant part of his life. In 1691, the wife of a member of parliament, Lady Meshan, suggested that Locke move to a country house in Oetse. This proposal was accepted by a philosopher who nevertheless did not want to give himself the opportunity to completely relax in a comfortable home environment. Here the philosopher took over the education of Lady Mesham's son. From Otse, Locke corresponded with Leibniz. In 1696, the philosopher receives the post of Commissioner for Trade and Colonial Affairs. This position forced him to constantly appear in the capital. In addition, John Locke took part in the monetary reform. He personally contributed to the repeal of the law that restricted freedom of the press. Locke was also one of the founders of the Bank of England. And yet, the main occupation of John Locke in Ots was preparing for the publication of a large number of works, the ideas of which the philosopher had hatched before.