Who is the father of liberal approach?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

John Locke, born in 1632, is widely regarded as the “father of liberalism” and one of the most influential thinkers of the Enlightenment period. His contributions to political philosophy and his emphasis on individual rights and limited government have had a profound impact on the development of liberal thought.

Locke’s ideas were groundbreaking in his time, as he challenged the prevailing notion of absolute monarchy and divine right of kings. He argued that individuals possess natural rights, including life, liberty, and property, which cannot be taken away arbitrarily by any governing authority. These ideas formed the basis of his famous work, “Two Treatises of Government,” published in 1690.

In his First Treatise, Locke directly challenged the idea of the divine right of kings, arguing that political authority is derived from the consent of the governed rather than from any religious or hereditary claims. He asserted that individuals are born free and equal, and no one has the right to rule over others without their consent.

Locke’s Second Treatise delved into the concept of a social contract, wherein individuals willingly enter into a political society to secure their natural rights. According to Locke, the primary purpose of government is to protect these rights, and if a government fails in this duty, the people have the right to overthrow it. This idea of the right to revolution greatly influenced later political thinkers and movements.

One of the key principles of Locke’s liberalism is the idea of limited government. He advocated for a separation of powers and checks and balances to prevent any single entity from gaining too much power. This notion laid the groundwork for the development of democratic systems and the protection of individual liberties.

Locke’s ideas were not only influential in the realm of politics but also in the fields of education and religious tolerance. He argued for the importance of education in shaping individuals and creating an informed citizenry. His views on religious tolerance, expressed in his “Letter Concerning Toleration,” advocated for the separation of church and state and the freedom of individuals to worship according to their own beliefs.

John Locke’s ideas and writings played a pivotal role in shaping liberal thought and the foundations of modern democracy. His emphasis on individual rights, limited government, and the consent of the governed have had a lasting impact on political philosophy and continue to shape political systems around the world.