Mary-Elaine Swanson has done an invaluable service for this and subsequent generations by resurrecting awareness and presenting an accurate knowledge of John Locke and his reasoning through an uncensored view of his life, writings, and incalculable influence on America. This book will help Americans understand the importance of Locke’s thinking for American constitutionalism today.
You will learn the real meaning of the “law of nature” as it was embraced in Colonial America and the separation of church and state embraced in the Constitution. The founding fathers looked to Locke as the source of many of their ideas. Thomas Jefferson considered Locke as one of the three greatest men that ever lived.
Locke advocated separation of the state from the church and extension of religious toleration. Locke’s political writings were an enormous influence on America’s founders in the preservation of liberty and the establishment of representative government. Locke’s contributions to American Liberty can clearly be seen interwoven in our colonial Declarations of Rights, paraphrased in our Declaration of Independence, and incorporated into our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Declaration is born of the extensively studied and widely taught Treatises On Civil Government by John Locke. There Locke reasoned the very purpose of forming civil government is the protection of property, and that “life, liberty, and property (pursuit of happiness)” are not three separate rights but intrinsically one great and inalienable right he called “property”—which begins with the life of the individual, then his liberty which is essential to his productivity, followed by the right to enjoy the fruits of his labors without fear that the government will confiscate his property. These inalienable rights are from God and legitimate government has no authority to take them away but is chartered in fact to preserve and protect liberty.
Characterizing Mary-Elaine Swanson (1927-2011) and her book, “John Locke – Philosopher of American Liberty,” Nordskog Publishing, 2012
By James B. Rose, President, American Christian History Institute
My characterization of Mary-Elaine
Quickened by the research and remarkable testimony of Verna M. Hall, American Christian Historian, Mary-Elaine Swanson (nee Adams) devoted her spiritual and intellectual gifts for the last fifty years to documenting the Christian history and character of the men and women God used to advance individual liberty and self-government in America.
Equipped with a background in journalistic writing and research, fluent in French, and enriched with a unique English heritage, Mary-Elaine has lectured and written on the history of freedom and civil government as Vice President of the American Christian History Institute, Resident Scholar for the Mayflower Institute, Chief Biographer for the Foundation for American Christian Education, and Guest Lecturer for the Pilgrim Institute.
She wrote concise biographies of the character and contributions of nearly eighty historians from Simon Adler and Clarence Alvord to John Witherspoon and Rev. John Joachim Zubly. Her life and works are examples of American Christian scholarship and insistence upon accurate, honest representations of man and government.
Mary-Elaine wrote two comprehensive biographies: The Education of James Madison – A Model for Today (1992) and JohnLocke – Philosopher of American Liberty (Nordskog Publishing, 2012). These two works alone cited over 160 individual historians, confirming her commitment to thorough research and devotion to primary resources.
Among the cherished personal recollections of this beloved sister in the Lord is my first impression of her, in 1958, over 50 years ago. She was Co-Chairman of a Study Group on the Historic Origins of the Constitution held monthly at the Women’s City Club in downtown San Francisco. A lively, quick witted, articulate discussion leader, she was gifted with a capacity to frame questions that compelled one to reason carefully from first principles and to quickly learn that any error in the premise would lead to an error in the conclusion.
It is with great joy that her friends and associates celebrate Mary-Elaine Swanson’s life of Christian scholarship and her love of learning and teaching America’s Christian history and government and, in the spirit of the Apostle Paul, to REMEMBER “without ceasing (her) work of faith, and labor(s) of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the sight of God our Father; knowing brethren beloved, (her) election of God”. [I Thessalonians 1:3-4]
Why her book is so important
This book is important to understanding the roots of American liberty because, (1) for 150 years prior to the War of Independence, “the great Mr. Locke” was the most quoted author on political philosophy in Colonial America. (2) In particular, the Clergy paraphrased large sections of his Second Treatise on Civil Government. And, (3) Locke was the primary exponent of the philosophy of the Law of Nature and natural rights in Colonial America.
The reader will also learn to value the influence of John Locke on three revolutions occurring in three different continents (only one revolution was defensive and a true return to base) and his extraordinary influence on three American Declarations of liberty and law.
Furthermore, it is important that conscientious citizens rediscover and understand the historic and Biblically reasoned roots of the vocabulary of liberty which John Locke and the Founding Fathers used to articulate and advance Constitutional liberty - words and phrases such as conscience, self-government, property, law and liberty, natural law, natural right, Law of Nature, revolution, toleration and voluntary union, among other terms.
Contemporary textbooks and news commentators unlearned in the historical standards of reference once used to define and maintain individual liberty, reveal the degree to which we are ignorant of the influence (and blessings) of the Bible on American political thought. This book will help correct that error.
The author was committed to reasoning and writing from historically documented primary sources on or written by John Locke as well as dedicated to an unashamed conviction in God’s Providence – the “Providential approach” to history.
Mary-Elaine Swanson was a great lady and excellent scholar. She aptly and well represents America’s Christian history to the present age. Associated with the Christian history movement spearheaded by Verna M. Hall and Rosalie J. Slater of the Foundation for American Christian Education, Mrs. Swanson also conducted research and wrote for Marshall Foster’s Mayflower Institute, and later for James B. Rose’s American Christian History Institute. Ms. Swanson went to be with the Lord in May 2011.
Visit Nordskog Publishing at http://nordskogpublishing.com/book-john-locke.shtml to learn more about Ms. Swanson and her book.
Spokesperson: Mr. James B. Rose is a forerunner in the field of American Christian Education with over 45 years of experience as a classroom teacher, Headmaster, Bible college professor and Chairman of the Department of Education, home-schooling principal and parent, licensed minister of the Gospel, conference speaker, author, and President of the American Christian History Institute (www.achipa.com). Currently, he is also the Superintendent of American Christian Academy Extension Campus (Private School Satellite Program) of Anderson, California (www.acaec.net), ministering to nearly 500 home-school families and about 800 students in 12 counties of Northern California. Mr. Rose is also the author and compiler of the classic curriculum guide of the Principle Approach, A Guide to American Christian Education for the Home and School (1987). He resides in Redding, California, with his wife, Barbara. They are the parents of four home-schooled children and grandparents of 17.