Sunday, June 17, 2012
Book Review: John Locke: Philosopher of American Liberty by Mary-Elaine Swanson
In this compelling narrative, the late Mary-Elaine Swanson shares the story of John Locke, an English philosopher, physician, and theologian whose writings influenced three revolutions and garnered him admiration from Voltaire, Rousseau, and many American revolutionaries, especially Samuel Adams.
John Locke: Philosopher of American Liberty provides an in-depth look into Locke's life and his influence. Well-researched and cited, Swanson's motivation for writing this book is to refute the claim that Locke's political philosophy was rooted in "a godless rationalism." In order to do this, the author went back to the writings of people who knew Locke and also reviewed his own words.
Broken down into five sections, this book discusses the life of John Locke and the times in which he lived. It then goes on to discuss Locke's influence on the Glorious Revolution, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution. Finally, Swanson discusses how American law schools began to reject the Law of Nature as fundamental to understanding the intentions of the drafters of the Constitution of the United States, and how the adopting of an evolving view of law that constantly changes according to the people's wants, has resulted in a change in constitutional law and the decisions handed down from the Supreme Court. The final chapter offers proposed solutions for how to return the judiciary to its purpose as intended by the framers of the Constitution: "to adjudicate specific cases, but not to set public policy."
John Locke: Philosopher of American Liberty is a timely book that is so important today because it shows clearly that Locke believed life, liberty, and property were inalienable rights from God and legitimate government has no authority to take them away. Government is actually bonded to protect and preserve liberty. Though Locke's views have been manipulated over time, Swanson proves through multiple cited examples that American liberty's roots are Biblically based. Swanson believed it is important for every American to know the ideas behind the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The late author has done a great service in correcting the modern notion that our Founding Fathers were deists. The proof is in the writings of the man who greatly influenced how these men framed our form of government, as much as it is in their own writings. But more than that, Swanson's book shows how far away the branches of our government have come from what was originally intended, and offers possible solutions on how to return to our roots.
•Paperback: 432 pages
•Publisher: Nordskog Publishing (May 1, 2012)
•Language: English •ISBN-10: 0983195730
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions. I was paid a fee to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review of any kind. I have received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.
This is the thirtieth book I have read for the following challenge: