Theory During the Colonial Period
The Renaissance had influence on American development . . . English Calvinists who wanted to change or purify the Anglican Church became known as Puritans and were very important in the settlement of New England.
-- John D. Pulliam and James van Patten, 1995
The various theories formulated by ancient Greek masters discussed in chapter 1 did not end with their application to Greek society, but they found their way into the New World as it began to form. If there is one individual who deserves credit for transmitting the thoughts of the Greek masters to the New World, that individual is John Locke ( 1632- 1704). Adam Smith, who gained so much from Locke's work, was born nearly twenty years after Locke had died. By the time Smith published his Wealth of Nations in 1776 Locke's reputation as a thinker had reached major proportions. Therefore Smith's success and fame came partly from the ideas he learned from Locke.
Writing in 1996 about Locke's contribution to the evolution of theory of the character of society in the New World, Lloyd Duck of George Mason University concludes that Locke's ideas came into application at the right time. 1 Duck goes on to add that Locke's ideas were influential to the development of society in the New World because he expressed them in a clear and forceful manner that left no room for doubt as to what he said. During and after his life Locke has appropriately been known as the predominant influence on the development of the New World. His theory of government, society, and education had a tremendous impact on the evolution of ideas. Among those who utilized Locke's ideas was Thomas Jefferson ( 1743- 1826), who was born thirty years after Locke's death. Jefferson utilized Locke's ideas in writing the Declaration of Independence. 2
Locke was at his best in presenting his theory of politics and education. His ideas contrasted with those of Rene Descartes ( 1596- 1650), a French