John Locke, born in 1632, was an English philosopher who studied medicine at Oxford and later treated Anthony Ashley Cooper, the first Earl of Shaftesbury, leading to a close professional relationship between the two.
Locke left England during the Exclusion Crisis, returning in 1688 to publish works on government, toleration and human understanding.
His authorship of some works remained disputed but suspected. Locke also published works on education, Christianity, money and interest.
His philosophy influenced the Glorious Revolution and he remained politically and intellectually active until his death in 1704.
His patron, Shaftesbury, was a powerful political figure involved in efforts to exclude Catholic heirs from the royal succession.
He was recognized as the “Father of Liberalism” and one of the most important Enlightenment thinkers of his time.
Below are the best quotes by John Locke.
Best John Locke Quotes
1. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” ~ (John Locke).
2. “The discipline of desire is the background of character.” ~ (John Locke).
3. “All wealth is the product of labor.” ~ (John Locke).
4. “Logic is the anatomy of thought.” ~ (John Locke).
5. “Curiosity in children is but an appetite for knowledge.” ~ (John Locke).
6. “Struggle is nature’s way of strengthening it.” ~ (John Locke).
7. “With books we stand on the shoulders of giants.” ~ (John Locke).
8. “Where there is no law there is no freedom.” ~ (John Locke).
9. “This is my destiny – I’m supposed to do this, dammit! Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do!” ~ (John Locke).
10. “Who are we to tell anyone what they can or can’t do?” ~ (John Locke).
11. “Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” ~ (John Locke).
Wise John Locke Quotes
12. “I have always thought the actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.” ~ (John Locke).
13. “The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.” ~ (John Locke).
14. “What worries you, masters you.” ~ (John Locke).
15. “The mind is furnished with ideas by experience alone.” ~ (John Locke).
16. “Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.” ~ (John Locke).
17. “Justice and truth are the common ties of society.” ~ (John Locke).
18. “Revolt is the right of the people.” ~ (John Locke).
19. “No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.” ~ (John Locke).
20. “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” ~ (John Locke).
21. “A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world.” ~ (John Locke).
22. “There are two sides, two players. One is light, the other is dark.” ~ (John Locke).
23. “Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.” ~ (John Locke).
24. “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).
Popular John Locke Quotes
25. “I am sure, zeal or love for truth can never permit falsehood to be used in the defense of it.” ~ (John Locke).
26. “Curiosity in children is but an appetite for knowledge. The great reason why children abandon themselves wholly to silly pursuits and trifle away their time insipidly is, because they find their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected.” ~ (John Locke).
27. “Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature.” ~ (John Locke).
28. “Government has no other end, but the preservation of property.” ~ (John Locke).
29. “Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses.” ~ (John Locke).
30. “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it.” ~ (John Locke).
31. “Anger is uneasiness or discomposure of the mind upon the receipt of any injury, with a present purpose of revenge.” ~ (John Locke).
32. “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).
33. “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).
34. “Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.” ~ (John Locke).
35. “How long have you been holding those words in your head, hoping to use them?” ~ (John Locke).
36. “In the beginning, all the world was America.” ~ (John Locke).
37. “That which is static and repetitive is boring. That which is dynamic and random is confusing. In between lies art.” ~ (John Locke).
38. “There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men.” ~ (John Locke).
39. “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).
40. “The most precious of all possessions is power over ourselves.” ~ (John Locke).
41. “The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.” ~ (John Locke).
42. “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.” ~ (John Locke).
43. “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).
44. “He that uses his words loosely and unsteadily will either not be minded or not understood.” ~ (John Locke).
45. “Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” ~ (John Locke).
46. “Memory is the power to revive again in our minds those ideas which after imprinting have disappeared, or have been laid aside out of sight.” ~ (John Locke).
47. “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).
48. “As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears.” ~ (John Locke).
49. “Some eyes want spectacles to see things clearly and distinctly: but let not those that use them therefore say nobody can see clearly without them.” ~ (John Locke).
50. “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).
51. “If any one shall claim a power to lay and levy taxes on the people by his own authority and without such consent of the people, he thereby invades the fundamental law of property, and subverts the end of government.” ~ (John Locke).
52. “It is labour indeed that puts the difference on everything.” ~ (John Locke).
Top John Locke Quotes
53. “Mathematical proofs, like diamonds, are hard and clear, and will be touched with nothing but strict reasoning.” ~ (John Locke).
54. “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.” ~ (John Locke).
55. “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).
56. “Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.” ~ (John Locke).
57. “All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it.” ~ (John Locke).
58. “Don’t let the things you don’t have prevent you from using what you do have.” ~ (John Locke).
59. “Thus parents, by humouring and cockering them when little, corrupt the principles of nature in their children, and wonder afterwards to taste the bitter waters, when they themselves have poison’d the fountain.” ~ (John Locke).
60. “If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do much what as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.” ~ (John Locke).
61. “The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it, into which a young gentleman should be entered 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).
62. “The necessity of pursuing true happiness is the foundation of all liberty- Happiness, in its full extent, is the utmost pleasure we are capable of.” ~ (John Locke).
63. “Consciousness is the perception of what passes in man’s own mind.” ~ (John Locke).
64. “The senses at first let in particular Ideas, and furnish the yet empty Cabinet: And the Mind by degrees growing familiar with some of them, they are lodged in the Memory, and Names got to them.” ~ (John Locke).
65. “Our Business here is not to know all things, but those which concern our conduct.” ~ (John Locke).
Great John Locke Quotes
66. “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).
67. “Merit and good works is the end of man’s motion; and conscience of the same is the accomplishment of man’s rest; for if a man can be partaker of God’s theatre, he shall likewise be partaker of God’s rest.” ~ (John Locke).
68. “The picture of a shadow is a positive thing.” ~ (John Locke).
69. “Men being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent.” ~ (John Locke).
70. “We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.” ~ (John Locke).
71. “Success in fighting means not coming at your opponent the way he wants to fight you.” ~ (John Locke).
72. “Firmness or stiffness of the mind is not from adherence to truth, but submission to prejudice.” ~ (John Locke).
73. “These two, I say, viz. external material things, as the objects of SENSATION, and the operations of our own minds within, as the objects of REFLECTION, are to me the only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginnings.” ~ (John Locke).
Powerful John Locke Quotes
74. “Where all is but dream, reasoning and arguments are of no use, truth and knowledge nothing.” ~ (John Locke).
75. “He that will have his son have respect for him and his orders, must himself have a great reverence for his son.” ~ (John Locke).
76. “I thought that I had no time for faith nor time to pray, then I saw an armless man saying his Rosary with his feet.” ~ (John Locke).
77. “I find every sect, as far as reason will help them, make use of it gladly: and where it fails them, they cry out, It is a matter of faith, and above reason.” ~ (John Locke).
78. “All rising to great place is by a winding stair; and if there be factions, it is good to side a man’s self whilst he is in the rising, and to balance himself when he is placed.” ~ (John Locke).
79. “If by gaining knowledge we destroy our health, we labour for a thing that will be useless in our hands.” ~ (John Locke).
80. “To be rational is so glorious a thing, that two-legged creatures generally content themselves with the title.” ~ (John Locke).
81. “Who hath a prospect of the different state of perfect happiness or misery that attends all men after this life, depending on their behavior, the measures of good and evil that govern his choice are mightily changed.” ~ (John Locke).
82. “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).
83. “He that in the ordinary affairs of life would admit of nothing but direct plain demonstration would be sure of nothing in this world but of perishing quickly.” ~ (John Locke).
84. “There are a thousand ways to Wealth, but only one way to Heaven.” ~ (John Locke).
85. “No peace and security among mankind-let alone common friendship-can ever exist as long as people think that governments get their authority from God and that religion is to be propagated by force of arms.” ~ (John Locke).
Short John Locke Quotes
86. “It is easier for a tutor to command than to teach.” ~ (John Locke).
87. “Who lies for you will lie against you.” ~ (John Locke).
88. “Slavery is so vile and miserable an Estate of Man, and so directly opposite to the generous Temper and Courage of our Nation; that ’tis hardly to be conceived, that an Englishman, much less a Gentleman, should plead for’t.” ~ (John Locke).
89. “It is one thing to persuade, another to command; one thing to press with arguments, another with penalties.” ~ (John Locke).
90. “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).
91. “The visible mark of extraordinary wisdom and power appears so plainly in all the works of creation.” ~ (John Locke).
92. “God, when he makes the prophet, does not unmake the man.” ~ (John Locke).
93. “He that judges without informing himself to the utmost that he is capable, cannot acquit himself of judging amiss.” ~ (John Locke).