John Locke was an English philosopher who believed all people have natural rights to life, liberty and property, independent of any man-made laws. This is in contrast to claims that people are naturally subject to a monarch, as he asserted in his 1689 work "Two Treatises of Government."
Locke's argument for natural rights served as his basis for defining the legitimacy of a government. In his view, the state of nature entails the temporary transfer of rights from the people to their government, which is responsible for protecting the people's enjoyment of these rights, through a social contract. If this contract is broken, the government may be replaced.
Born in Somerset, England, on Aug. 29, 1632, John Locke is considered the "Father of Classical Liberalism." He died on Oct. 28, 1704.