Skip links

John Locke Biography and Facts For Kids

John Locke was an British philosopher, Oxford academic and medical researcher. Where was John Locke born? Lock was born in Wrington, a village in Somerset, on August 29, 1632. Why was John Locke important? Locke is considered the first of the British Empiricists, but is equally important to social contract theory. His ideas had enormous influence on the development of epistemology and political philosophy, and he is widely regarded as one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers and contributors to liberal theory. His monumental Essay Concerning Human Understanding aims to determine the limits of human understanding. Locke’s theory of mind is often cited as the origin for modern conceptions of identity and “the self”, figuring prominently in the later works of philosophers such as David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. Locke was the first philosopher to define the self through a continuity of “consciousness.” He also postulated that the mind was a “blank slate” or “tabula rasa”; that is, contrary to Cartesian or Christian philosophy, Locke maintained that people are born without innate idea. The timeline of Locke’s life below will give many facts, and answer questions such as; What century did John Locke live in?, Where did John Locke live?, When is John Locke birthday? and even Where did John Locke die?

Timeline of John Locke’s Life

1632 29 August: When was John Lock Born Locke is born.

1642: The English Civil War begins

1649 January 30: When was King Charles I Executed? King Charles I is executed, the House of Lords abolished; England is declared a Commonwealth

1652: Locke goes to Christ Church College, Oxford. From this time until 1667 Oxford was Locke’s usual place of residence.

1656: Locke graduates B.A. and in 1658 Locke graduates with his M.A.

1660: Locke meets Robert Boyle, the chemist, who was to be his friend and correspondent for thirty years. When did Lock Write the Treatise of Magistrate? Locke writes his first treatise on the Civil Magistrate.

1660: Charles II returns to England and is restored to the throne.

1664: Locke is “Censor of Moral Philosophy” at Christ Church. He writes the Essays on the Law of Nature

1665NovemberFebruary 1666 Locke visits Cleves as part of a diplomatic mission accompanying Sir Henry Vane to the Elector of Brandenburg.

1665: Locke reads Descartes and finds in him the first viable alternative to Scholasticism he had encountered.

1666: Locke meets Anthony Ashley Cooper. Locke is granted a dispensation to keep his studentship without taking holy orders.

1667: Locke began collaborating with Thomas Sydenham in medical research.

1667: Locke becomes Lord Ashley’s personal physician. From this time until 1675 Locke resided usually in London. He writes an Essay concerning Toleration

1668: Locke supervises an operation to remove a cyst from Lord Ashley’s liver. Astonishingly, the operation is successful and the patient lives another 15 years! Locke is elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

1670: Locke writes the Fundamental Constitution of Carolina.

1671: Locke writes the first draft of the Essay Concerning Human Understanding From this year until 1675 Locke appears to have been the secretary to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina

1671: Locke, along with Lord Shaftsbury and many others, buys shares in the Royal Africa Company.

1675: Locke graduates M.B. On 12 November he goes to France and remains there until 1678

1682: Locke meets Damaris Cudworth, daughter of Ralph Cudworth.

1682 November 28: Shaftsbury flees to Holland where he dies on 21 January 1683

1683 September: The Rye House Plot to kill Charles II exposed; Locke flees to Holland; Essex, Russell and Algernon Sydney arrested.

1684: Locke expelled from his studentship at Christ Church College, Oxford, by Royal command.

1685: Charles II dies; the Catholic Duke of York ascends the throne as James II.

1685: Lord Monmouth’s rebellion. Monmouth invades England from Holland, Argyle raises a rebellion in Scotland. Both are suppressed.

1688: The Bibliotheque Universelle publishes a fifty page abstract of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding

1688: William of Orange invades England and accomplishes the “Glorious Revolution of 1688.” James II flees to France.

1689 February: Locke returns to England escorting the princess of Orange, who later became Queen Mary. He meets Sir Isaac Newtonand they become friends.

1689: The Epistolia de Tolerentia was published, and translated by William Popple as A Letter Concerning Toleration.

1689 December: The Essay Concerning Human Understanding is published.

1690: The Two Treatises of Civil Government are published.

1690: Jonas Proast publishes The Argument of the ‘Letter of Toleration’ Briefly Considered and Answered

1691: Locke makes Oates, the residence of Sir Francis and Lady Masham, his permanent home.

1693: Some Thoughts Concerning Education published.

1694: The second edition of the Essay Concerning Human Understanding published.

1695: The Reasonableness of Christianity published anonymously.

1695: Locke answered criticisms of the Reasonableness in A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity.

1696: A Board of Trade established and Locke appointed to it. Locke remained on the Board until 1700.

1697: A second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity.

1697-99: Locke engaged in an extensive controversy with Edward Stilling fleet, Bishop of Worcester.

1700: Where and When did John Lock Die? Locke remained at Oates until his death in 1704.

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.
  • All wealth is the product of labor.
  • An excellent man, like precious metal, is in every way invariable; A villain, like the beams of a balance, is always varying, upwards and downwards.
  • Any one reflecting upon the thought he has of the delight, which any present or absent thing is apt to produce in him, has the idea we call love.
  • As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears.
  • Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.
  • Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.
  • Fashion for the most part is nothing but the ostentation of riches.
  • Government has no other end, but the preservation of property.
  • 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.
  • I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.
  • It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean.
  • It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.
  • New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without anyother reason but because they are not already common.
  • No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.