Governments are collections of applied ideas. The principles of the United States of America, founded just under two hundred and fifty years ago, were formulated based on certain moral and political philosophies which had been best specified by eighteenth century thinker John Locke. Locke’s philosophy was a deliberate departure from the popular ideas of Thomas Hobbes, the political philosophy which was believed to have fueled the colonies’ mistreatment at the hands of the British empire. The years leading up to the formation of the United States were dominated by the works of these two English philosophers, Hobbes and Locke. The transition of popularity between their political theories during the years before the American Revolution anticipates a nineteenth century American intellectual movement called transcendentalism which took the theories of Locke a few steps further.
Moore, Garrett, "Song of Ourselves: The Principles of American Democracy and Walt Whitman" (2015). English Class Publications. 17.