In These Truths, Jill Lepore quotes John Locke as saying "In the beginning, all the world was America." According to Lepore's analysis, how does the quote reveal what the English believed about America and about their own colonizing efforts?

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In These Truths: A History of the United States, Jill Lepore quotes the 17th century English philosopher John Locke, some of whose political ideas strongly influenced the American colonists. The relevant quotation is

In the beginning, all the world was America.

What Locke meant by this was that in its original pristine state the world was pure and largely unexplored. At the time Locke wrote that, Europeans had not vastly explored the continent.

A further analogy between America and Paradise related to the matter of equality. According to Locke, all men were born into a state of equality. No one man had more power than another. This fundamental insight lay at the heart of Locke's political theory, which held that men were endowed with natural rights which it was unconscionable for the government to violate. If the government did violate such rights, then the people—to be more precise, male property-owners—had the right to rise up and replace the government with one that would protect and defend their rights.

Although Locke never set foot in America, as secretary to the colony of Carolina he drew up its constitution. The constitution he drafted embodied many of the ideas that would eventually find their way into the United States Constitution. At this stage in the life of the American colonies there was little or no gap between the ideals of the British colonial authorities—as expressed in the constitution of the Carolina colony—and their policies. For now, it seemed that Locke's philosophy of government was a fair reflection of how the British actually governed.

Several decades later, however, the relationship between the governors and the governed had changed dramatically, and Locke's ideas would be championed by many disgruntled American colonists in their conflict with the British.

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