How did the ideas of John Locke influence the US Constitution?Consider the ideas of limited government, natural rights, and the will of people.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that your subtext really hits on many of the Lockian ideas that are in the Constitution.  The idea of limited government is a Locke notion that allows government to operate within a sense of structure that the Constitution gives it.  In this light, individuals are able to best achieve their notion of "tabula rasa" where individuals can carve out their own identity without government intrusion.  This also connects to the idea of inalienable rights, certain entitlements that cannot be vitiated by any political or social order.  Locke saw this as a protection of economic rights, but the Framers of the Constitution applied it to a more theoretical notion of rights in terms of any pursuit of autonomy or freedom.  Finally, the idea that government must exist as a connection or contract between the governed and those in the position of political power is a Locke notion.  This is something that is present in the principle of popular sovereignty, a concept that stresses the power of the people to have a voice in the affairs of their government.  Locke occupies a preeminent position of influence over the Framers and the construction of their constitution.

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