Was John Locke Really a Liberal?

He opposed wars of conquest, but not on dubious moral grounds.

Issue: May-June 2016

TODAY THE practice as well as the theory of foreign policy is divided between the traditions of liberalism and realism (or realpolitik). Ever since the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, international politics has been influenced by the discourse of “human rights,” rooted in the tradition of natural-rights philosophy that dates back to the seventeenth-century British philosopher John Locke. The idea of human or natural rights is commonly identified with the liberal tradition in foreign affairs.

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