(1632-1704) an English philosopher. In his Two Treatises of Government (1690) he opposed the ideas of Thomas Hobbes, arguing that governments should rule only if they are supported by the people. This was an important influence on the later revolutions in America and France, and on the development of Western democracy. Locke also wrote books on religion, education and economics. His most famous work of philosophy is An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), an attempt to show what can and cannot be known.