Locke was a great and vastly influential philosopher in history (1632-1704). According to Locke, every child that is born has the right to freedom, justice and equality; but how come they are placed under their parents’ jurisdiction? This is because the children lack the capacity to consciously, and also apply logic.
Locke converted or rather placed the power of parents over their children completely from parental power to paternal power. It is with such reasoning and Locke’s literature that the term ‘Tabula Rasa’ evolved. The theory of Tabula Rasa expresses the fact that human beings are born without reason and knowledge, and this knowledge is rather extracted from their environment and life experiences. Each and every person becomes liable for defining their own character and behaviour.
This power that parents have over their children vastly extends until the child is well grown (Locke uses twenty- one as the age example). Locke states that people have the tendency of linking paternal power with monarchical power; yet if this power was addressed as parental power to include mothers’ power too, then this tendency would be rather inexistent. In short, monarchial power and paternal power are totally dissimilar.
Moreover, Locke then recapitulates that the first society is that one of man and woman. This is further defined as a conjugal society and is very different from the monarchial society. Here, the man (master) and the woman (mistress) of a household enjoy the power over all individuals in a household. Nevertheless, this power is not unequivocal. They lack the power that dominates or defines life and death or even the monarchial power.
He expressly defines the society as a united body that comprises of individuals who are guided by a directorate that protects their well being as well as their property. This directorate is also responsible for drafting the rules and regulations that govern people’s conduct. Parents are, therefore, required to take up their duty of taking care and nurturing children once they are born because these children are assumed immaturely and underdeveloped in terms of character and mannerisms. This is until they reach the age where they understand that consequences of their behaviour will bite them back literally and that at that point every choice they make has a consequence. If parents end up neglecting this duty, they bring up children who end up developing mannerisms that lead to misconduct; which in turn not only affects them, but also the society. They end up breeding trouble for the society at large.
It is obvious that parents have been placed for a huge responsibility of nurturing and shaping children once they are born up to a certain age where they can decide for themselves. This power, however, should only be used to make children understand the society and develop good character to point where they can be left free; to even have a right over what they do and even own property. One of Locke’s quotes, ‘’No man’s knowledge can go beyond his experience’ (Spark Notes Editors, n.d.) explicitly describes his thoughts on the fact that, after birth, we are responsible for defining our own direction and character. He also challenged the idea of an absolute monarch; one that is free to take one’s life or property of individuals of the society indemnifying their natural rights. These rights are rooted in the Fundamental Laws of Nature.