1689 - Locke publishes Second Treatise on Government

       In the Second Treatise on Government, Locke advanced the radically new idea called tabula rasa, which, simply stated, proposed that government should be made "with the consent of the governed."  (Click here for more on Locke's influence on American democracy)

Second Treatise Of Government

   John Locke's Second Treatise on Government, published in England in 1689,articulated the foundational ideas of representative democracy that would launch the American Repubic ninety-eight years later.  In fact, Thomas Jefferson would copy parts of the Declaration of Independence directly off the pages of Locke's essay.

       Locke also outlined a theory of civil society based on natural rights, and his essays on man's natural rights to life, liberty, and property, formed the intellectual backbone of the American revolution.  Much of the Declaration of Independence is taken directly from Locke's writings, either verbatim or in its ideas.