Lives and ideas.

John Locke was born and grew up during a historic period in Europe from 1632-1704  in Somerset, England. At the time in Europe, when monarchies had absolute power and yearned to increase it still. Locke in his writings favored representative government and a rule of law. He denounced tyranny. He insisted that when government violates individual rights, people may legitimately rebel (Powell, 1996).
In his political theory, Lockes Two Treatises on Government upheld the doctrine of human liberty and explained the significance of human rights against absolutism (Richard, 1999). He postulated that men in a natural state are born free and equal with inalienable rights (John, n.d). Most of his writings were signed using an assumed name because of the fear of being discovered while in exile. Locke was also responsible for developing an insight into human understanding in his Essay concerning human understanding. Though he wrote other works such as the Letters Concerning Toleration, The Reasonableness of Christianity and Some Thoughts Concerning Education,  his most important and outstanding works are two treatises and the essay and on human understanding. Locke believed that Good and evil, reward and punishment, were the only motives to a rational creature and claimed that mankind could be manipulated and guided using these as tools. He was thus dubbed the freedom philosopher (Stanford encyclopedia, 2001).
John Stuart Mill was born in 1806 to a philosopher and economist James Mill. He was well educated under the tutelage of Jeremy Bentham also a philosopher. As a young man Mill had a serious mental breakdown which made him question the purpose for his life on earth. Because he was born and raised as a utilitarian, he defended it and developed a knack for pestering the British people by trying to persuade them to realize how significant both the scientific approach  and the insights of the liberal arts were in engineering social, political and economic change (Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy).
His main works include the system of logic, Principles of Political Economy, On Liberty, Utilitarianism, The Subjection of Women, and Three Essays, But it is his essay on Liberty which is the most acknowledged masterpiece of his thought.
In his political works Mill comes out as man who believed in the rights of the individual to determine himherself. He was an ardent defender of the secret ballot though in some of his works this was never very evident. He was also defended the liberty of women in Britain and even prepared an amendment bill in the British parliament -the reform Act of 1867- which would give women the same political rights as men. Though the lost very badly when it was put to vote, it very clear that he was already thinking centuries ahead of his contemporaries. He wrote many books on economy and philosophy than Bentham, his father James and even J. Locke who preceded him.
Traces in the modern society today
In the United Nations Human Rights Charter the coinage and the words used to describe the rights of the citizen are similar to what Mill and Locke used and their ideas of natural rights are still retained in the charter.
In New York City where the statue of liberty stands, also stand the capital of the worlds greatest commercial hub, social and cultural icon and also a beacon of the principle of the right to freedom. For many years, The US has been known as the land of freedom where everyone is free to do as they please as long as they keep the laws of the land.
Practices in law and civil rights
The US constitution is primarily based on Liberty. When drafting the constitution, the founding fathers heavily borrowed from Locke the ideas of natural rights and historically Thomas Jefferson was a dear friend of Locke. Other laws that protect minorities such as African American and Hispanics have been introduced as well as pre existing ones such as the right to privately own property, speech and associate among others. These are evident in Mills on liberty essay which defended these rights studiously. Consequently, the law recognizes that the individual is innocent unless proven guilty, and has right to have hisher say even if the majority thinks heshe is wrong.


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