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What did John Locke believe was the government’s job?

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John Locke believed that government should exist only to protect the rights of its citizens. According to Locke, these rights included life, liberty, health, and possessions. 

Unlike philosophers like Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature was rational and tolerant. However, he acknowledged that man was inherently selfish; this is why government was necessary to protect man from infringement by other men. 

For this reason, Locke believed "Checks and Balances" were necessary for a functioning government to prevent one group from becoming more powerful than another. He also stated that in some circumstances, revolution was not merely a right, but a necessity. This would be the case in which a government began restricting civil liberties of its citizenry. 

These basic principles had a profound affect on both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution

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Purdue University

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