Reading Locke (MJ-B)

Reading Locke (MJ-B) - Locke Lecture Introduction Why is...

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Locke Lecture Introduction Why is Locke so difficult to read? o Four primary reasons: Locke’s writings Locke wrote much more than just the Two Treatises Hard to understand an author’s thoughts through just one text The Historical Context Idea of the Cambridge School – texts in context The text itself Not the easiest read Locke often contradicts himself o Not as much as in the First Treatise , but Locke relies to a large degree upon Scripture (and not history) to make his arguments Your edition of the text Introduction written from a political science perspective. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t provide much of the historical background o What can we fix? Clarify the text Put it in proper historical context The Historical Context o The ten minute whirlwind tour of 17 th century English (NOT BRITISH!) history 1603 Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603) dies, James VI and I (r. 1603-1625) comes to the throne Why two numbers? James VI of Scotland, James I of England Union of the Crowns, the first Stewart monarch 1625 James VI and I dies, son Charles I (r. 1625-1649) takes over 1632 Locke born o Family was minor gentry in Somerset near Bristol o Father was an attorney o Family’s religious leanings were Puritan 1639-1642 Take your pick of years – one of these is the start of the English Civil War, or the War of the Three Kingdoms o 1639: Scotland rebels at Charles I’s attempts to impose the Anglican prayer book on the Presbyterian Kirk o 1640: Parliament scoffs at Charles I’s request for money o 1641: Catholics in Ireland rebel o 1642: Parliament and the Crown come to blows 1649 Charles I executed In England, the Commonwealth is established In Scotland, Charles II is proclaimed King 1
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1652 Locke enters Christ Church, Oxford o Stays until 1667 (multiple degrees and a teacher) o In 1656 he’s admitted to Gray’s Inn as a lawyer, but he doesn’t pursue this career o Interest in medicine develops by the late 1650s o By 1665 he was amongst the most senior lecturers at Christ Church, which should have required him to be ordained, but his religious beliefs (Puritanism leaning towards Socinianism) probably stopped him 1653 Protectorate established under Oliver Cromwell Lasts until Cromwell’s death in 1658 1660 The Restoration – Charles II (r.1660-1685) brought back as King of England 1666 Locke meets Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Ashley and 1 st Earl of Shaftesbury Locke leaves Oxford the following year to become Shaftesbury’s physician and secretary 1678 The Popish Plot uncovered o Fictional plot to assassinate the King and place a Catholic on the throne 1680 Sir Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha first published 1681 The Exclusion Crisis o Locke’s patron, the Earl of Shaftesbury, attempts to force a bill through Parliament excluding the Duke of York (the future James VII and II) from
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This note was uploaded on 04/27/2010 for the course HWC 205 taught by Professor Cotten-sprecklemeyer during the Spring '08 term at Kansas.

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Reading Locke (MJ-B) - Locke Lecture Introduction Why is...

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