96+ Best John Locke Quotes: Exclusive Selection

John Locke FRS was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the “Father of Liberalism”. Profoundly inspirational John Locke quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for philosophical quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Karl Marx, powerful Niccolo Machiavelli quotes and famous Sam Harris quotes.

Famous John Locke Quotes

A criminal who, having renounced reason … hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or tiger, one of those wild savage beasts with whom men can have no society nor security. – John Locke

A father would do well, as his son grows up, and is capable of it, to talk familiarly with him; nay, ask his advice, and consult with him about those things wherein he has any knowledge or understanding. By this, the father will gain two things, both of great moment. The sooner you treat him as a man, the sooner he will begin to be one; and if you admit him into serious discourses sometimes with you, you will insensibly raise his mind above the usual amusements of youth, and those trifling occupations which it is commonly wasted in. – John Locke

Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company, and reflection must finish him. – John Locke

I esteem it above all things necessary to distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion and to settle the just bounds that lie between the one and the other. – John Locke

As usurpation is the exercise of power which another has a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to. – John Locke

How then shall they have the play-games you allow them, if none must be bought for them? I answer, they should make them themselves, or at least endeavor it, and set themselves about it. …And if you help them where they are at a stand, it will more endear you to them than any chargeable toys that you shall buy for them. – John Locke

Untruth being unacceptable to the mind of man, there is no other defense left for absurdity but obscurity. – John Locke

He that will make good use of any part of his life must allow a large part of it to recreation. – John Locke

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. – John Locke

All men by nature are equal in that equal right that every man hath to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man; being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions. – John Locke

It is therefore worthwhile, to search out the bounds between opinion and knowledge; and examine by what measures, in things, whereof we have no certain knowledge, we ought to regulate our assent, and moderate our persuasions. – John Locke

Try all things, hold fast that which is good. – John Locke

The visible mark of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of creation. – John Locke

Faith is the assent to any proposition not made out by the deduction of reason but upon the credit of the proposer. – John Locke

What worries you, masters you. – John Locke

The discipline of desire is the background of character. – John Locke

I am sure, zeal or love for truth can never permit falsehood to be used in the defense of it. – John Locke

Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature – John Locke

Our Business here is not to know all things, but those which concern our conduct. – John Locke

The only thing we are naturally afraid of is pain, or loss of pleasure. And because these are not annexed to any shape, color, or size of visible objects, we are frighted of none of them, till either we have felt pain from them, or have notions put into us that they will do us harm. – John Locke

Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain. – John Locke

Habits wear more constantly and with greatest force than reason, which, when we have most need of it, is seldom fairly consulted, and more rarely obeyed – John Locke

Men in great place are thrice servants; servants of the sovereign state, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no freedom, neither in their persons, nor in their actions, nor in their times. It is a strange desire to seek power and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man’s self. – John Locke

Mathematical proofs, like diamonds, are hard and clear, and will be touched with nothing but strict reasoning. – John Locke

Liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others – John Locke

For a man’s property is not at all secure, though there be good and equitable laws to set the bounds of it, between him and his fellow subjects, if he who commands those subjects, have power to take from any private man, what part he pleases of his property, and use and dispose of it as he thinks good. – John Locke

All the entertainment and talk of history is nothing almost but fighting and killing: and the honor and renown that is bestowed on conquerors (who for the most part are but the great butchers of mankind) farther mislead growing youth, who by this means come to think slaughter the laudable business of mankind, and the most heroic of virtues. – John Locke

Words, in their primary or immediate signification, stand for nothing but the ideas in the mind of him who uses them. – John Locke

Error is none the better for being common, nor truth the worse for having lain neglected. – John Locke

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. – John Locke

Thirdly, the supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent: for the preservation of property being the end of government, and that for which men enter into society, it necessarily supposes and requires, that the people should have property, without which they must be supposed to lose that, by entering into society, which was the end for which they entered into it; too gross an absurdity for any man to own. – John Locke

When we know our own strength, we shall the better know what to undertake with hopes of success. – John Locke

Knowledge being to be had only of visible and certain truth, error is not a fault of our knowledge, but a mistake of our judgment, giving assent to that which is not true. – John Locke

Though the water running in the fountain be every ones, yet who can doubt, but that in the pitcher is his only who drew it out? – John Locke

He that uses his words loosely and unsteadily will either not be minded or not understood. – John Locke

The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it, into which a young gentleman should be enter’d by degrees, as he can bear it; and the earlier the better, so he be in safe and skillful hands to guide him. – John Locke

Now, I appeal to the consciences of those that persecute, torment, destroy, and kill other men upon pretence of religion, whether they do it out of friendship and kindness towards them or no? I say, if all this be done merely to make men Christians and procure their salvation, why then do they suffer whoredom, fraud, malice and such-like enormities, which (according to the Apostle) manifestly relish of heathenish corruption, to predominate so much and abound amongst their flocks and people? – John Locke

Men’s happiness or misery is [for the] most part of their own making. – John Locke

Practice conquers the habit of doing, without reflecting on the rule. – John Locke

It is practice alone that brings the powers of the mind, as well as those of the body, to their perfection. – John Locke

And because it may be too great a temptation to human frailty, apt to grasp at power, for the same persons, who have the power of making laws, to have also in their hands the power to execute them, whereby they may exempt themselves from obedience to the laws they make, and suit the law, both in its making, and execution, to their own private advantage. – John Locke

To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man. – John Locke

Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small, they gall and pinch us; but if too large, they cause us to stumble and to trip. – John Locke

Let us suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from experience. – John Locke

There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men. – John Locke

The greatest part of mankind … are given up to labor and enslaved to the necessity of their mean condition; whose lives are worn out only in the provisions for living. – John Locke

The thoughts that come often unsought, and, as it were, drop into the mind, are commonly the most valuable of any we have. – John Locke

To prejudge other men’s notions before we have looked into them is not to show their darkness but to put out our own eyes. – John Locke

It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of the truth. – John Locke

It is vain to find fault with those arts of deceiving wherein men find pleasure to be deceived. – John Locke

This is my destiny — I’m supposed to do this, dammit! Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do! – John Locke

Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other. – John Locke

I have no reason to suppose that he, who would take away my Liberty, would not when he had me in his Power, take away everything else. – John Locke

Curiosity should be as carefully cherish’d in children, as other appetites suppress’d. – John Locke

Things of this world are in so constant a flux, that nothing remains long in the same state. – John Locke

There is no such way to gain admittance, or give defence to strange and absurd Doctrines, as to guard them round about with Legions of obscure, doubtful, and undefin’d Words. – John Locke

The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure. – John Locke

To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues. – John Locke

The dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of good. – John Locke

This is that which I think great readers are apt to be mistaken in; those who have read of everything, are thought to understand everything too; but it is not always so. Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collections:;; unless we chew them over again, they will not give us strength and nourishment. – John Locke

I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics that form their own peculiar professions and pursuits. – John Locke

No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience. – John Locke

Government has no other end, but the preservation of property. – John Locke

The power of the legislative being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands. – John Locke

A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be little the better for anything else. – John Locke

We are born with faculties and powers capable almost of anything, such at least as would carry us farther than can easily be imagined: but it is only the exercise of those powers, which gives us ability and skill in any thing, and leads us towards perfection. – John Locke

Revolt is the right of the people – John Locke

God, when he makes the prophet, does not unmake the man. – John Locke

Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues. – John Locke

Since the great foundation of fear is pain, the way to harden and fortify children against fear and danger is to accustom them to suffer pain. – John Locke

Tis a Mistake to think this Fault [tyranny] is proper only to Monarchies; other Forms of Government are liable to it, as well as that. For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many. – John Locke

Logic is the anatomy of thought. – John Locke

The business of education is not to make the young perfect in any one of the sciences, but so to open and dispose their minds as may best make them – capable of any, when they shall apply themselves to it. – John Locke

It is labour indeed that puts the difference on everything. – John Locke

So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with. – John Locke

The most precious of all possessions is power over ourselves. – John Locke

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom. – John Locke

Those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all. – John Locke

Don’t let the things you don’t have prevent you from using what you do have. – John Locke

It being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a Wolf or a lion. – John Locke

In my opinion, understanding who your target audience is, and what they want, and writing to them (and only them!) is the most important component of being successful as an author. – John Locke

As much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivated, and can use the product of, so much is his property. He by his labour does, as it were, enclose it from the common. – John Locke

The Church which taught men not to keep faith with heretics, had no claim to toleration. – John Locke

The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves. – John Locke

It is one thing to persuade, another to command; one thing to press with arguments, another with penalties. – John Locke

If by gaining knowledge we destroy our health, we labour for a thing that will be useless in our hands. – John Locke

Whenever legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience. – John Locke

Who lies for you will lie against you. – John Locke

Long discourses, and philosophical readings, at best, amaze and confound, but do not instruct children. When I say, therefore, that they must be treated as rational creatures, I mean that you must make them sensible, by the mildness of your carriage, and in the composure even in the correction of them, that what you do is reasonable in you, and useful and necessary for them; and that it is not out of caprichio, passion or fancy, that you command or forbid them any thing. – John Locke

Certain subjects yield a general power that may be applied in any direction and should be studied by all. – John Locke

If the innocent honest Man must quietly quit all he has for Peace sake, to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it may be considered what kind of Peace there will be in the World, which consists only in Violence and Rapine; and which is to be maintained only for the benefit of Robbers and Oppressors. – John Locke

To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality. – John Locke

Where there is no law there is no freedom. – John Locke

Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses. – John Locke

Every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his. …. The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property. – John Locke

The Indians, whom we call barbarous, observe much more decency and civility in their discourses and conversation, giving one another a fair silent hearing till they have quite done; and then answering them calmly, and without noise or passion. And if it be not so in this civiliz’d part of the world, we must impute it to a neglect in education, which has not yet reform’d this antient piece of barbarity amongst us. – John Locke

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