Learn American History through 50 pop songs

John Locke Soft Rocke


John Locke (1632–1704), was an English philosopher. Locke is most renowned for his political theory. He believed that the original state of man’s nature was happy and characterized by reason and tolerance and that in this state all people were equal and independent, and none had a right to harm another's life, health, liberty, or possessions. He believed man should be guided by natural law. Many ideas in the US Constitution were formulated by the Founding Fathers based on Locke’s ideas.


© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

A man is born and lives his life
In most of history, life was strife
In feudal systems and monarchies
All the lower classes were never free

Oh they couldn’t see – possibility
They couldn’t choose their way or have their say
Until a new philosophy said you must be … free

In 1690 the world saw
A new idea called natural law
John Locke said that here on earth
Man is free, right from birth

But he couldn’t see – possibility
He couldn’t choose his way or have his say
Until a new philosophy said he must be … free

Our Declaration of Independence
Upon Locke’s words was transcended
Into a priceless democratic tool
That simply states that the people should rule (themselves)

And that the leaders should lead only to
Serve all the people not just a few
With this new thought power shifted
From the top on down oppression lifted

And now they could see – possibility
To choose their way and have their say
Thanks to a new philosophy that said you must be … free


Natural Law— A theory that some laws are basic and fundamental to human nature. Natural law theory eventually gave rise to a concept of "natural rights." John Locke argued that human beings in the state of nature are free and equal. This natural rights theory provided a philosophical basis for the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson used the natural law theory to justify his trinity of "inalienable rights" which were stated in the United States Declaration of Independence.

John Locke— Locke was an English political philosopher whose ideas inspired the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. He wrote that all human beings have a right to life, liberty, and property, and that governments exist to protect those rights

Declaration of Independence— The Declaration of Independence was signed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4., 1776. It dissolved the colonies' ties with Britain, listed grievances against King George III, and declared the colonies to be an independent nation.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

In what year did John Locke introduce Natural Law?

What important document of American History was influenced by John Locke’s theory of natural law?

Tier 2 Questions

Compare and contrast the difference of the life of lower classes before the idea of natural law and after? Did they have the same opportunities?

Tier 3 Questions

Before the idea of natural law most classes of societies had no possibilities of ‘upward’ mobility. This means if your father was a peasant, you will be too. According to this song, this changed after John Locke introduced natural law. Do you agree or disagree that all classes of society have a chance to move up the social ladder today? Explain your answer thoughtfully and cite examples to support your position.

Test Prep Questions

1) Which document included John Locke’s idea that people have the right to overthrow an oppressive government?

  • (1) Mayflower Compact
  • (2) Northwest Ordinance
  • (3) Declaration of Independence
  • (4) Bill of Rights

2) John Locke’s theory of natural rights, as reflected in the Declaration of Independence, states that

  • (1) government is the source of all individual rights
  • (2) power should be concentrated in the monarchy
  • (3) power to govern belongs to the people
  • (4) individual liberties are best protected by a

3) In writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was influenced most by John Locke’s idea of

  • (1) due process of law
  • (2) natural rights
  • (3) the rights of the accused
  • (4) the right to privacy

4) The principles of government that Thomas Jefferson included in the Declaration of Independence were most influenced by

  • (1) John Locke’s social contract theory
  • (2) Adam Smith’s ideas of free enterprise
  • (3) Louis XIV’s belief in divine right
  • (4) William Penn’s views on religious toleration

5) Which aspect of the American political system was most influenced by the ideas of John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu?

  • (1) executive control of foreign policy
  • (2) limitations on the power of government
  • (3) government regulation of the economy
  • (4) creation of the electoral college