The Other Civil War A sheriff in the Hudson River Valley near Albany, New York, about to go into the hills in the fall of to collect back rents from tenants on the enormous Rensselaer estate, was handed a letter: The tenants now assume the right of doing to their landlord as he has for a long time done with them, viz: You need not think this to be children's play
Locke grew up and lived through one of the most extraordinary centuries of English political and intellectual history.
It was a century in which conflicts between Crown and Parliament and the overlapping conflicts between Protestants, Anglicans and Catholics swirled into civil war in the s. This period lasted from to It was marked by continued conflicts between King and Parliament and debates over religious toleration for Protestant dissenters and Catholics.
His father was a country lawyer who served in a cavalry company on the Puritan side in the early stages of the English Civil War. In Locke went to Westminster School in London. From Westminster school he went to Christ Church, Oxford, in the autumn of at the age of twenty.
As Westminster school was the most important English school, so Christ Church was the most important Oxford college. Education at Oxford was medieval. Locke, like Hobbes before him, found the Aristotelian philosophy he was taught at Oxford of little use.
There was, however, more at Oxford than Aristotle. The new experimental philosophy had arrived. The group around Wilkins was the nucleus of what was to become the English Royal Society. The Society grew out of informal meetings and discussion groups and moved to London after the Restoration and became a formal institution in the s with charters from Charles II.
The program was to study nature rather than books. Locke received his B. His career at Oxford, however, continued beyond his undergraduate days.
The rank was equivalent to a Fellow at any of the other colleges, but was not permanent. Locke had yet to determine what his career was to be.
At this point, Locke needed to make a decision. The statutes of Christ Church laid it down that fifty five of the senior studentships should be reserved for men in orders or reading for orders.
Only five could be held by others, two in medicine, two in law and one in moral philosophy. Thus, there was good reason for Locke to become a clergyman. Locke decided to become a doctor. The new leader of the Oxford scientific group was Robert Boyle. Boyle was, however, most influential as a theorist.
He was a mechanical philosopher who treated the world as reducible to matter in motion. Locke read Boyle before he read Descartes. When he did read Descartes, he saw the great French philosopher as providing a viable alternative to the sterile Aristotelianism he had been taught at Oxford.
In the Epistle to the Reader at the beginning of the Essay Locke remarks: The commonwealth of learning is not at this time without master-builders, whose mighty designs, in advancing the sciences, will leave lasting monuments to the admiration of posterity: Newton, with some others of that strain, it is ambition enough to be employed as an under-labourer in clearing the ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge ….
Sydenham was an English physician and Locke did medical research with him. Presumably this will reveal the degree of certainty of the knowledge based on such ideas. David Thomas was his friend and collaborator.
Locke and Thomas had a laboratory in Oxford which was very likely, in effect, a pharmacy.Your final draft, edited and proofread, is your essay, ready for your reader's eyes.
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