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STUDY GUIDE FOR RICHARD HOOKER

The thought of the Anglican divine Richard Hooker exhibits the complicated relation between the Declaration of Independence and the ancient and medieval natural law tradition. John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government first formulated the famous rights to “life, liberty, and property” that appeared in the Declaration as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In that same treatise Locke quoted Richard Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity many times in support of important points that Locke was making. Hooker influenced Locke, and Hooker in turn was strongly influenced by Aristotle and by medieval thinkers (like Thomas Aquinas). In his essay Professor Faulkner outlines Hooker’s writings on natural law and shows where they depart from his predecessors’ views but also where they retain key ancient and medieval elements. Hooker’s broad yet compact treatment of the natural law provides a helpful overview of the whole ancient and medieval natural law tradition presented on this website.