The Pursuit of Happiness in the Democratic Creed: An Analysis of Political Ethics

By Ursula M. von Eckardt | Go to book overview

9
HAPPINESS AND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING The Philosophy of John Locke

1. Jefferson and Locke

It is difficult to determine which of the principles of John Locke Jefferson learned directly from Locke's writings, and which he absorbed from the current climate of opinion and through the works of Locke's followers. The numerous references to Locke, however, in the Jefferson papers and letters lead to the generally accepted conclusion that Locke was one of the major sources of Jefferson's philosophy. Some of these references mention Locke Treatises of Government.1 Most of them refer to Locke first Letter Concerning Toleration, from which Jefferson derived his notes on religion, and to Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding, as well as the posthumously published On the Conduct of the Understanding. Jefferson considered Locke, together with Bacon and Newton, as the founder of modern science,2 and cited Locke as authority

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