Why Is John Locke Important to American History and Psychology?

John Locke is a prominent figure in both American history and psychology. His ideas and philosophies have influenced key events in American history and revolutionized the field of psychology. In this article, we’ll explore why Locke is important to both these fields.

John Locke’s Impact on American History

Locke was an influential philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment, a period in European history marked by scientific advancements and new ideas about government and society. His political philosophy had a profound impact on American history, particularly on the drafting of the United States Constitution.

Locke believed that individuals have natural rights to life, liberty, and property. He argued that governments are created to protect these rights and should only exist with the consent of the governed. This idea heavily influenced the founding fathers of America, who incorporated similar principles into the Constitution.

In fact, Thomas Jefferson’s famous phrase in the Declaration of Independence – “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – was inspired by Locke’s philosophy. The Constitution also reflects Locke’s belief that government should be limited in its power over individuals.

Locke’s Contributions to Psychology

Apart from his impact on American history, Locke also revolutionized psychology with his ideas about human nature and knowledge.

Locke believed that all knowledge comes from experience – a concept known as empiricism. He argued that the mind is a blank slate at birth and all knowledge is acquired through experiences with the world around us. This idea laid the foundation for behaviorism – a school of thought in psychology that emphasizes observable behavior over internal mental processes.

Moreover, Locke’s emphasis on individual experience paved way for subjective experience as an important aspect in psychological research.


To sum up, John Locke was an important figure in both American history and psychology. His political philosophy inspired key events in American history such as drafting of Constitution while his belief in empiricism paved way for revolutionary ideas in psychology. Understanding Locke’s ideas is essential to understanding the history of America and the development of modern psychology.