Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wit, Daniel

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Locke; John; 1632-1704


The basic purpose of this paper is to establish that a fundamental change in John Locke’s political theories did occur, and that this alteration was influenced by the evolution of his concepts concerning the state of nature, natural law, and the means by which we determine the light of nature. Of primary concern is the development of Locke's concept concerning natural law in the 1600's. Methodologically, the paper first discusses Locke’s basic political theorist and his concepts concerning natural law in 1660. Second, contemporary influences on Locke’s thoughts are discussed with particular reference to Descartes, the Gassendist Movement, Boyle, the Royal Science Society, and the Cambridge Platonists. Considering these factors, the paper then corre­lates Locke’s theories of natural law, knowledge, and government. The conclusion of the paper is that Locke’s concepts concerning natural law and the means by which identify this las ware fundamental in the development of his political theories. Locke’s philosophy concerning human understanding with its emphasis on sense-perception and individual rationalization fortified his concepts concerning the equality of man and government based on consent of the people. The establishment of a social order did not abrogate the concept of natural law; it incorporated natural law in the system as a factor which set limitations to the social order.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 47-48)


48 pages




Northern Illinois University

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