The collapse of the Protectorate after the death of Cromwell was followed by the Restoration of Charles II—the return of the monarchy, the House of Lords and the Anglican Church. It was marked by continued conflicts between King and Parliament and debates over religious toleration for Protestant dissenters and Catholics.
This period ends with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in which James II was driven from England and replaced by William of Orange and his wife Mary.
One of Locke’s friends from Westminster school, Richard Lower, introduced Locke to medicine and the experimental philosophy being pursued by the virtuosi at Wadham. The rank was equivalent to a Fellow at any of the other colleges, but was not permanent.
Locke had yet to determine what his career was to be.
This is apparent both on the level of the individual person and on the level of institutions such as government and church.
For the individual, Locke wants each of us to use reason to search after truth rather than simply accept the opinion of authorities or be subject to superstition.It was a century in which conflicts between Crown and Parliament and the overlapping conflicts between Protestants, Anglicans and Catholics swirled into civil war in the 1640s.With the defeat and death of Charles I, there began a great experiment in governmental institutions including the abolishment of the monarchy, the House of Lords and the Anglican church, and the establishment of Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate in the 1650s.The Society saw its aims in contrast with the Scholastic/Aristotelian traditions that dominated the universities. Many of Wilkins associates were people interested in pursuing medicine by observation rather than the reading of classic texts. His career at Oxford, however, continued beyond his undergraduate days.Bacon’s interest in careful experimentation and the systematic collection of facts from which generalizations could be made was characteristic of this group. In June of 1658 Locke qualified as a Master of Arts and was elected a Senior Student of Christ Church College.Locke’s association with Anthony Ashley Cooper (later the First Earl of Shaftesbury) led him to become successively a government official charged with collecting information about trade and colonies, economic writer, opposition political activist, and finally a revolutionary whose cause ultimately triumphed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.Among Locke’s political works he is most famous for in which he argues that sovereignty resides in the people and explains the nature of legitimate government in terms of natural rights and the social contract.Boyle was, however, most influential as a theorist.He was a mechanical philosopher who treated the world as reducible to matter in motion. When he did read Descartes, he saw the great French philosopher as providing a viable alternative to the sterile Aristotelianism he had been taught at Oxford.Locke believes that using reason to try to grasp the truth, and determine the legitimate functions of institutions will optimize human flourishing for the individual and society both in respect to its material and spiritual welfare.This in turn, amounts to following natural law and the fulfillment of the divine purpose for humanity.