John Locke (1632–1704) was a British political philosopher who is often cited as the father of political liberalism. He studied medicine at Oxford University and became closely associated with the Earl of Shaftesbury, whose life he saved with a skillful operation. His best known works include A Letter Concerning Toleration, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, and Two Treatises of Government. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists and one of the most influential of the Enlightenment thinkers, his work was hugely important in the development of the social contract theory of government and influenced such later philosophers as Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, and Kant. Two Treatises of Government in particular informed many of the principles behind the American Revolution, and its influence can particularly be seen in the Declaration of Independence.
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