John Locke FRS ( /ˈlɒk/; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704), widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work had a great impact upon the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
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“Were it not for the corruption and viciousness of degenerate men, there would be no ... necessity that men should separate from this great and natural community, and by positive agreements combine into smaller and divided associations.”
—John Locke (16321704)