According to John Locke, What Is the Purpose of Government?


John Locke believed that the purpose of the government was to help all people achieve equal natural rights, and that the government was obliged to protect and defend its citizens. Locke rejected the belief that some people were born to divinely rule over others simply because they belonged to a higher class. Locke firmly believed that even a monarchy should only reign with the consent of the people. His wayward, radical beliefs at the time made him a target for British monarchs that believed average citizens should stay in their place and out of government activities.

John Locke’s ideas about the purpose of the government inspired the American Revolution and influenced the creation of the Declaration of Independence. Many believed that Locke’s ideas were noble and right, and they wanted the spirit of equal rights and freedom to permeate the new government being created in America. Modern democracy evolved from the fundamental beliefs that Locke held. In his writings, Locke supported representative government and a system of checks and balances to prevent to government from possessing absolute power. Locke truly believed that citizens are capable of reasoning and governing themselves. He gravely warned that if people were continuously mistreated and denied their natural rights, they would rebel against the government.