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John Locke was born in 1632 in Wrington, England. His family would best be described as upper middle class. His schooling included Westminster School in London and Oxford where he remained until 1667. After leaving school his first employment was with the house of Lord Ashley (Earl of Shaftesbury). He played many roles including tutor and eventually personal physician to Lord Ashley. Locke joined the Royal Society in 1668 and was a close friend of Thomas Sydenham, a noted physician. Through the patronage of Lord Ashley, Locke was able to hold several governmental postings and work on his numerous writings, including drafting "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" around 1671.
Locke travelled to France around 1675 and returned to a changed England. Lord Ashley was out of favor with the crown and soon Locke found his relationship a hindrance. Locke composed "Two Treatises Concerning Government" during this dangerous time, although it was not published until 1689. After Ashley died, Locke fled England and traveled throughout France, the Netherlands and Europe. He returned to England after the Glorious Revolution in 1688.
Throughout his life Locke was involved in political and religious writings. He challenged not only the government, but long-held Christian views in his work "The Reasonableness of Christianity" in 1695. Locke published much of his work anonymously due to the nature of persecution should his identity be directly tied to the works. He died in 1704 after battling respiratory ailments his entire life and is buried in High Laver, England.
If a more concise presentation is required, Locke's life can be shorty summed up. He was raised in a moderately wealthy home, well educated and challenged the status quo of the government and religion. He sought to educate the common people through his writings and spur them to think for themselves rather than accept the yoke of government or religion.
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