Second Treatise of Government | Study Guide

John Locke

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Second Treatise of Government | Key Figures

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Key Figure Description
John Locke John Locke (1632–1704) is the author of Second Treatise of Government (1689). Locke wrote both his treatises to defend and justify the English "Glorious Revolution" of 1688-89. King James II was deposed and Parliament established permanent limitations on the power of the monarchy. Many of Locke's concepts, such as popular sovereignty, the consent of the governed, majority rule, and the right of the people to dissolve a government acting against the public good, influenced the American founders. Read More
Sir Robert Filmer Sir Robert Filmer (1588–1653) was a British political philosopher. His most important work was entitled Patriarcha (published posthumously in 1680). In this treatise, Filmer strongly advocated the doctrine of absolute monarchy. Read More
Sir Richard Hooker Sir Richard Hooker (1554–1600) was an eminent Anglican (Church of England) theologian of the Elizabethan era. His moderate views are often credited with steering a middle course between Roman Catholicism and dissenting Puritanism. Read More
King James II King James II (1633–1701) ruled England from 1685 to 1688. The younger brother of King Charles II, James was an openly practicing Roman Catholic. When a male heir was born, James's subjects, led by nobles in Parliament, feared that he would subvert the Protestant Reformation in England, which had begun 150 years earlier with King Henry VIII. James was, in the end, forced to abdicate the throne. Read More
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) was a British philosopher and political thinker who was one of John Locke's most important predecessors. Hobbes shared some of Locke's assumptions, such as the state of nature and the social contract. However, Hobbes exhibited a notably more pessimistic view of human nature and character. Read More
John Barclay John Barclay (1582–1621) was a Scottish poet, satirist, and political theorist whose best-known work was the long poem Argenis, written in Latin and first published in 1621 (translated into English in 1625). Barclay's political stance in this work was strongly in favor of absolute monarchy.
King Charles II King Charles II (1630–85) ruled England from 1660 to 1685. Known as "the merry monarch," Charles II presided over the latter stages of a continuing conflict between the Crown and Parliament for governmental supremacy.
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658) was a Puritan military commander and statesman who ruled Britain as "Lord Protector" in the interregnum (period between reigns) that followed the English Civil War and extended from the execution of King Charles I in 1649 until the restoration of King Charles II (1660).
King James I King James I (1566–1625) ruled England from 1603 to 1625. Before his accession to the English throne, he had been the King of Scotland. He was an advocate of absolute monarchy and the divine right of kings.
Queen Mary II Queen Mary II (1662–94) was the daughter of King James II of England. A Protestant, she married Prince William of Orange in the Netherlands. Together with her husband, she ruled England after the Glorious Revolution of 1688–89.
Ovid Known as "Ovid," the ancient Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BCE–17 CE) wrote on a variety of subjects and employed diverse forms. One of his most enduring works, which had a strong influence on Europe in the medieval period, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment, was entitled the Metamorphoses. In this long poem, Ovid included a significant version of the myth of the golden age.
Samuel Pepys Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) was a British government servant who was employed as a naval official. He is famous today for his remarkably detailed diary, which covers day-to-day life in a realistic fashion during the 1660s in London.
Lord Shaftesbury Anthony Ashton-Cooper, the first Earl of Shaftesbury (1621–83), was a British politician, writer, and intellectual who befriended John Locke in the mid-1660s. A man of liberal values, Shaftesbury seems to have acted as Locke's patron.
King William I King William I "the Conqueror" (c. 1028–87) was Duke William of Normandy, in northern France, before he mounted an army to invade England. This successful invasion culminated in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. William subdued the Saxon inhabitants of the island and became king.
King William III King William III (1650–1702) was the Prince of Orange in the Netherlands before he was invited by the English Parliament to take the throne of England after the deposition of King James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89. William was married to James II's Protestant daughter, Queen Mary II.
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