In John Locke: Philosopher of American Liberty, Mary-Elaine Swanson shows how modern academia gets it wrong again. The founding fathers of America are often presented as atheists, or at best a bunch of deists, along with all those political philosophers who influenced them Locke being chief among them. Unfortunately, many Christian thinkers have been influenced by these views, writing that Locke exalted reason above revelation and saw the laws of nature as more valuable than the laws of nature s God. Swanson clearly shows that Locke was no deist, rationalist, or secularist, but Christian in his and Biblical in his worldview. According to Locke, the holy Scripture is to me . . . the constant guide of my belief; and I shall always hearken to it, as containing infallible truth relating to things of the highest concernment. Swanson does an excellent job in clarifying ideas of Locke that are misunderstood, including tabula rasa (the mind as a blank slate) and the laws of nature. She clearly traces the influence of Locke upon the founding of America and shows how the founding fathers and founding clergy looked to Locke as the source of many of their ideas. Jefferson considered Locke as one of the three greatest men that ever lived. Swanson s book is the best way you can get to know this important man. --Stephen McDowell President, The Providence Foundation and Biblical Worldview University Free men, especially in America, have recognized a minimum of six kinds of liberty. Christians the world over, no matter what form of civil government prevails, can enjoy the first two kinds of internal, God-given liberty: Spiritual or Christian liberty (Romans 2:8; 2 Cor. 3:17; Gal. 5:1) and its correlative, liberty of conscience (Acts 16:24). But in God s Providence, Americans studied and appropriated much of John Locke s view of God, man, and government and subsequently enjoyed the fullest expression of the four external liberties once secured by our Constitutional Federal Republic: economic, religious, civil, and political liberty. In this compelling and timely volume, Mary-Elaine Swanson affirms John Locke s Christian character and convictions, and documents how he inspired the American clergy and our founding statesmen, far in advance of others, to elucidate the Biblical and reasonable ground or foundation of American Liberty. Read and be refreshed with the historic path of Biblical reasoning which helped to establish and advance the greatest expression of individual liberty in the history of the world. --James B. Rose Author, Educator, and President of the American Christian History Institute Government today is on steroids, taking rights from the people at an exponential rate. This is exactly why Mary-Elaine Swanson s timely book, John Locke Philosopher of American Liberty, is so vitally needed. If Americans are not aware of where our liberties came from, they will slip through our fingers like sand. The most common form of government in all of the 6,000 years of recorded human history has been dictatorship. Whether called Pharaohs, Caesars, Emperors, Sultans, Rajas, Kings, Khans, Kaisers, or Czars, power always concentrates into the hands of one individual the dictator. Equality is relative, based on how close a relationship you can get to this dictator. If you are his friend, you are more equal, if you are not his friend, you are less equal, and if you are his enemy, you are dead it s called treason. In America, we take for granted ideas such as inalienable natural rights, private property, right to resist unlawful authority, parental authority, separation of powers, and social compact where governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Our liberties did not occur by accident. They are the result of centuries of sacrifice and brilliant minds, such as John Locke. We are greatly indebted to M --William J. Federer Best-selling author of America s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations, Change to Chains the 6,000 Year Quest for Control.
Mrs. Mary-Elaine Swanson, author of numerous biographical sketches found in the appendix of The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America, was encouraged by Misses Verna Hall and Rosalie Slater of The Foundation for American Christian Education to pursue her interest in John Locke. The three of them knew that Locke had suffered many things at the hands of modern scholars, who in general selectively quoted Locke to support various ideas and philosophies alien to his thinking. In addition to her many other scholarly endeavors, Mrs. Swanson spent years researching Locke and interacting with modern Lockean scholarship in order to prepare her subject. The reviewer remembers seeing evidence of this work in 1983 at a Pilgrim Institute conference held in Michigan, and at that time she had already been engaged in it for years. The author writes as an historian to successfully defend Locke against charges of deism and atheism and to show that he was an orthodox Christian, a philosopher of free government, a theologian, a physician, a diplomat, an educator, a founder of the Bank of England, and a monetary reformer. John Locke is written in a clear, concise, accessible style that maintains a good balance between the informal and the scholarly with extensive documentation. The biography of Locke shows how thoroughly he influenced the England of his day. Locke s ideas came to beadapted by England in its Glorious Revolution , as it moved from an absolute to a limited monarchy in which the king ruled with the Parliament. Owing to the wide circulation and study of Locke s two Treatises on Civil Government in America, the Founding Father adopted his philosophy and embodied it, not only in the U. S. Constitution, but in local and state/colonial governments. In France, Locke s ideas were abandoned with the grim consequences of the French Revolution. Review by Mr. Darold Booton --Pilgrim Institute website: pilgriminstitute.org
What could 21st-century Americans luxuriating in their BMWs, iPads, and largely unhindered freedom to worship God in their own individual ways owe to a mild-mannered 17th-century Christian philosopher? In terms of their physical, political, and religious liberties, just about everything. In John Locke: Philosopher of American Liberty, the late Mary-Elaine Swanson has done such a thorough job of proving how the Christian political philosophy of John Locke so completely permeated the thinking of American colonists in the pre-Revolutionary War period, that for anyone to assert otherwise would expose to the world either his ignorance of history or a deliberate intent to defame one of the greatest thinkers of all time. By Michael Gray of The American Culture --The American Culture Blog