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Home » Blog » Comparing John Locke and Baron De Montesquieu

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08.03.2017

Comparing John Locke and Baron De Montesquieu

John Locke and Baron De Montesquieu

Both John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu contributed to developing the American Constitution. A lot of ideas were borrowed from them to build the way we now live in the USA. For example, John Locke stated that three rights were natural for all individuals. These rights were life, liberty, and property. The Americans took this idea and changed it only slightly: We say that these three innate rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In his turn, Baron de Montesquieu's idea was that people could determine the government's power. This idea was unusual for that time as it was the time of dictatorships and monarchies, where people had absolutely no influence on the government. The creators of our Constitution also took this idea to model the American government by trying to give more power to the citizens.

John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu also had some differences in their views. For instance, John Locke considered that people could improve themselves and learn from their mistakes. He said that people had an inborn ability to take care of their own affairs and had no need to be governed by others. Favoring the idea of self-governing, he disapproved of monarchies. He also stated that the government had to have a single purpose – to protect its people. In case it did not, people were entitled to overthrow it.

Baron de Montesquieu's main ideas were also very interesting. He described them in his book On the Spirit of Laws. He wrote about the governments of different empires and assessed the ways they influenced the citizens. He also gave his evaluation of their laws and explained why some of them had worked and been fair to the people. In addition, he explained his idea of three branches of the government.

At the time when these two thinkers lived, their views were considered radical as they differed a lot from the forms of government that existed back then. Their thoughts and ideas influenced people a lot. For instance, John Locke convinced people that they were more than just their government's slaves and servants. People understood that they needed the right to have a say in their government. Locke and Montesquieu’s ideas inspired multiple revolutions. As of today, the words of these two thinkers are still truthful. 

The influence of John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu on the world is evident. Their ideas became the basis for the US government, as well as for many other countries. Some people state that these great philosophers were ones of the first believers in democracy. Locke and Montesquieu wanted to give more power to the people to let them live better and avoid the government's suppression. In today's Europe and USA, the forms of the government and views on people's rights are shaped under their influence.


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