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The conventional view is that Jefferson was heavily influenced by Locke. Locke prioritised right of individuals to ‘life, liberty and property’ - very similar to the Declaration of Independence’s “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Indeed, Jefferson himself wrote of Locke as one of history’s great thinkers. Locke also wrote much on the idea of governing with the consent of the governed and the social contract, which of course underpinned much of the revolution and Jefferson’s philosophy. There are some differences though. Locke was arguably more conservative and limited in his view of republicanism. Jefferson perhaps took a more Continental and classical approach, viewing the republic as somewhere for humans to flourish, rather than to simply protect their rights.
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