What was John Locke's argument against the divine right of kings? 

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teachersage | (Level 2) Educator

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The divine right of kings asserted that a monarch derived his power directly from God and therefore was not answerable to any human authority, such as an elected parliament. Kings such as England's James I who based their rule on divine rights doctrine often attempted to expand monarchial power at the expense of other institutions that had traditionally held the monarch in check. Under this theory, to oppose the will of the king was to oppose the will of God. Locke rejected this concept and countered it with the idea of the natural rights of the people, from which, he argued, governments derive their legitimacy. The people's natural rights include life, property (the right to own property: this challenged the idea that all the land in a country belonged to the king) and liberty. Locke insisted that these natural rights were conferred at birth. The purpose of government was to protect these rights and it was legitimate for the people to revolt against any government that failed to protect these rights. Natural Rights doctrine directly challenged the divine rights of kings and provided a theoretical framework for the Declaration of Independence. 

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jcross373 | Student, Graduate | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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In John Locke's "First Treatise on Government" he wrote against the divine birth right of rulers. Locke believed that the people should be in control of choosing their leaders. He believed that citizens should be free to choose their own happiness and general well-being. Locke believed this freedom was a natural right citizens should be granted, and they were to be free from domination and aristocracy. According to Locke, a government should be established as a way of preserving the rights of individuals. The function of a government should be to enforce these natural rights of liberty and equality, which ultimately restricts the functions of the government. Locke believed that if the government overstepped its boundaries, its citizens had every right to form a rebellion.

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