Happy Individual Rights Day! 

Today, we celebrate the birth of one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers and the “Father of Liberalism,” John Locke, who famously advocated that all humans are born with natural rights.  

Natural rights include life, liberty, property, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to petition one’s government. 

In his landmark, Two Treatises of Government, Locke discusses individual rights and the idea of the social contract between individuals and government.   

Locke in History  

Locke was one of the premier thinkers of the 17th century Enlightenment and is considered one of the earliest British empiricists.  

Locke’s most renowned works include A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689), Two Treatises of Government (1689), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, and Some Thoughts Concerning Education

His theories served as the inspiration not only to other Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume, John-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire, but also to Thomas Jefferson and many of our Founders, who featured Lockean ideas prominently while authoring the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  

The Founding of Individual Rights Day 

Individual Rights Day was created by Tom Stevens, the founder of the Objectivist Party, who supports John Locke’s individualist philosophy. His philosophy is best summed up by his quote, “Anything that the man has as a matter of human rights or civil rights is to remain inviolably his.”  

On this day, we encourage you to remember John Locke and his profound influence on the founding of our country and the way we think about freedom and individual liberty today!

Learn more about Locke from the John Locke Foundation’s site here.