John Locke | History of SC Slide Collection

John Locke (1632-1704) was an English philosopher. Locke's connection with the Carolina colony was a result of his friendship with Lord Anthony Ashley-Cooper (see Anthony Ashley-Cooper). In 1669, Locke was tutoring Lord Ashley's children, serving as his private physician and secretary, and was secretary to the other Carolina proprietors. After several colonizing attempts in Carolina failed, Lord Ashley, with the aid of Locke, devised a form of government embodied in the Fundamental Constitutions. The Constitutions provided for a feudal system of government with the ultimate power in the hands of the eight proprietors, but the system never went into effect. Although the colonists opposed its limitations on their participation, the Fundamental Constitutions provided a guideline for future government in the colony. South Carolina was the only colony to mandate the use of a secret ballot; the division into counties and the method of selecting juries were also based upon the constitutions. For nearly 30 years, the legislature operated as outlined in the constitutions, with the council submitting legislation, and a single house parliament voting upon it. Portrait by John Greenhill, about 1672.

Courtesy of the Thomas Cooper Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina.

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History of SC Slide Collection / D. Portraits of Noted Carolinians | History of SC Slide Collection