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John Locke’s influence on American government and public administration

Mark F. Griffith (The University of West Alabama, Livingston, Alabama)

Journal of Management History (Archive)

ISSN: 1355-252X

Article publication date: 1 September 1997



John Locke, one of the most influential writers in history, profoundly affected the principles upon which the government of the United States was founded. He leaves a legacy of thoughts on human understanding, religion, economics, and politics that still influence the structure, environment, and operation of public administration today. He is most noted for his concept of separation of powers and for his ideas about property as the basis for prosperity. he moderated the more radical teachings of Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli. His politics, emerging from the concept of a state of nature, involved the underlying radical, modern premises about religion and morality. Locke presents his case for what we would call modern liberal democracy. He created the modern emphasis on constitutionalism that defines, in part, the relationship between the political system and the bureaucracy. Finally, he was an important link in the development of modern executive and legislative power.



Griffith, M.F. (1997), "John Locke’s influence on American government and public administration", Journal of Management History (Archive), Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 224-237.




Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited

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