John Locke Providing Foundations for the American Constitution
Finding the traces of the Second Amendment in the ancient Greeks we now move towards its proponents in modern philosophical traditions. John Locke was an English philosopher who laid down the foundations of modern political “liberalism” and “Natural Rights”. Being the inspirer of both the European Enlightenment and the Declaration of Independence he held a central authority among the Founding Fathers of the United States.
It will be pertinent to say that most of the political ideologies and inspirations for the citizens of the United States are the direct influence of his philosophical works. His predictions and ideas were proved accurate and most of what he advocated was enacted in England after the Glorious Revolution and in United States after the Declaration of Independence.
Democracy and the right of people to rule was the basic notion of his philosophy which was ultimately upheld by the Founding Fathers. He was only 10 years old when he witnessed the Civil Wars of England which developed an inclination for the “Parliamentarians” and rejection for the monarchy which ultimately advocates the foundational spirit of American democratic Constitution. The significance of his political ideology in his contemporary era is prominent and can scarcely be exaggerated. The integration of individualism within the framework of his theory of Natural Law along with the origin and limits of a legitimate government instigated the U.S. Declaration of Independence and inspired the broad outlines of the Constitution and Amendments of America. George Washington, the first president of the United States, once described Locke as:
“Father of Liberalism” was the First Proponent of the Second Amendment
It is a natural right of human being to protect himself and his family from attackers and intruders, a right which human being has been exercising from primitive era, is still a natural part of human instinct. Apart from the element of “life”, the other three elements in the philosophy of Locke seem to uphold the Second Amendment and depict his pro-gun prognostication. The “Liberty” of all equal and independent beings presupposes the freedom of possessing private firearms and ammunition, while Locke’s declaration of “Possessions” as the law of nature also secures the justness of the Forefathers’ verdict of possessing private firearms and ammunition in the form of second amendment.
Being a beforehand exponent of the Second Amendment and “Liberalism” he defended the notion of Founding Fathers who said that the “right of possessing private firearms must not be infringed” in the following words;
-Second Treatise of Civil Government (1690)
The Social Contract Theory
Locke’s “Right of Revolution” and the Second Amendment of U.S
(Two Treatises of Government)– John Locke
Discovering Some Interesting Aspects of Locke’s Philosophy
1. Gender Equality; John Locke was the first philosopher in history who distinctly upheld the role of women in political and social sphere. According to him:
Locke seems to challenge the age-old patriarchal structure of society by bestowing women equal political rights. This equality inevitably demands the reduction of disparities in physical strength. Locke was a true “Father of Liberalism” planting the “seed of feminism” in the early modern society. This equality between genders seems to uphold the Second Amendment and legalization of the possession of private firearms and ammunition. Two people equally armed with guns, are very likely to have equal harming and coercive powers, regardless of their physical disparities because in normal situations firearms are equally harmful in anyone’s hand. Buying firearms and having quality ammunition guarantees the safety of women regardless of their physical disparities. So the Second Amendment upholds the gender equality proposed by John Locke.
Strangely, this interesting aspect of “Natural” right was implicit in the wording to Forefathers when they wrote that this right “shall not be infringed”. You can infringe something existing beforehand, thus the Founding Fathers were also inspired by the Locke’s philosophy of “Natural Laws” and considered the right of possessing private firearms “Natural Right”.