70+ 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

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

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

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

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.

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

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

Revolt is the right of the people

What worries you, masters you.

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.

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

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

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

Inspirational John Locke Quotes

Liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

Amazing John Locke Quotes

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.

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.

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.

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

The discipline of desire is the background of character.

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.

Try all things, hold fast that which is good.

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?

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

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

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.

Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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