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John Locke's philosophy led quite directly to the words that Jefferson put in the Declaration of Independence.
Locke was a social contract theorist. He argued that people created governments by making a contract with one another. In this contract, the people agreed to give up some of their smaller rights so that the government would protect their larger rights. He argued that the people do this to keep their larger rights from being taken forcibly by others.
To Locke, people had three fundamental major rights. These were the rights to their life, their liberty, and their property. He argued that people should consent to be governed by a government so that the government could protect these rights. This idea is reproduced almost word for word in the Declaration of Independence when it lists our "inalienable rights" and it says that governments are created to secure those rights.
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