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John Locke

             John Locke was born on August 29, 1632, near Bristol, England. His father was a successful small landowner and attorney in western England. Locke was growing up during the English Civil War, in which Parliamentary forces battled King Charles I over matters of taxation, political power, and true religion. His father argued and fought with the Parliament, and showed his Puritan religious views. Before college, Locke reviewed a basic education from his father before entering the Westminster School. There he studied, and prepared for Oxford college, because his family was wealthy enough to send him there. At college, he was known to be troublesome, and paid little attention to his studies. Although he did not pay attention, he read many books and became familiar with the thinking of Rene Descartes. This led him to a great interest in medicine and science. After he completed his studies, he became a professor of philosophy at Oxford from 1661 to 1664. He taught both Greek and rhetoric. Soon after that, he decided to commit his life to medicine. He treated the first Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord Ashley, and achieved their trust and admiration. Locke remained a physician, tutor, and political advisor to the Shaftesbury family until the Earl died in 1683. John Locke however, did not receive his degree in medicine from Oxford until 1674. While with the Earl, Locke had the opportunity to write the constitution for the proprietors of the Carolina Colony in North America. Though the plan was never implemented, Locke's political philosophy would later become the intellectual blueprint for the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution. Locke, like his father remained a Puritan his entire life. He helped the Earl of Shaftesbury prevent the Catholic Stuart, James II, from coming to the English throne. Their attempts failed. The Earl was tried for treason but was acquitted. Both Locke and the Earl went into exile in Holland.

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