What is the Romantics perspective on Locke's primary and secondary qualities?I looking for the best words to express how Romantics viewed Locke' s primary and secondary qualities.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that the Romantics had a complex relationship with Locke's qualities.  The primary Lockean quality of inalienable rights would be something that the Romantics could find some level of agreement.  The protection of individual freedom and the idea that personal expression is not something that can be taken away by an authority figure would be appealing to the Romantics as they stressed this in their thinking and writing.  Yet, the Enlightenment aspect to Locke in terms of everything being steeped in rationality and reasonable analysis would probably not appeal to the Romantic thinkers who defined themselves in stark opposition to the scientific thought of the period.  Additionally, I would say that the Romantics might not necessarily agree with Locke's secondary analysis that individuals have the right to pursue whatever path they wish.  Romantic thinkers would want a primacy placed on artistic expression and the notion of sharing the subjective experience, while Locke is much more content with advocating self- interest and the idea that individuals can pursue any path, including business ends, material pursuits, and a life that might not be so wedded to artistic expression of the soul.  This might not be where the Romantic interests fully lie.