The American Revolution was almost 250 years ago, and yet, ripples are still being felt today as the thought of Hobbes, Locke, and the Framers of our government are just as pertinent to world events today as they were a quarter of a millennium ago. Historiography is essential since it’s only through a broad understanding of what has transpired that we can understand why certain theories have arisen and why they have gained acceptance.
Hobbes and Locke were very much products of their time and they themselves were undoubtedly influenced by what had transpired in their own recent history. The Reformation had taken place, King Henry VIII had lived and died, Catherine of Aragon had lived and died and greatly influenced her daughter Mary in the Catholic traditions, Ann Boleyn had become queen and was executed, but not before being a key player in the rise and spread of Protestantism, which her daughter Elizabeth I had adopted. Had all the dynamics during Henry VIII’s reign not taken place, had the Protestants not been persecuted and heretics not executed by the Crown, and especially by Queen Mary; the Pilgrims night not have been compelled to leave England in pursuit of religious freedom. Had the Pilgrims not left England, there might never have been a Mayflower Compact, which in 1620, constituted an early social contract, the creation of which must have influenced both Hobbes and Locke to some degree as it came into existence when Hobbes was a young man and twelve years before Locke was born—to Puritan parents.