For an understanding of Shaftesbury’s life and character it is necessary to see them against the background of the age in which he lived. A Whig by temperament, family ties and education, Shaftesbury was very much a child of his age; conscious both of its fresh opportunities and its responsibilities. The education of Shaftesbury, together with that of his six brothers and sisters, was supervised by Locke and was based on those principles which were later to be expounded in Thoughts concerning Education. Shaftesbury maintained an interest in politics throughout his life. An alliance with France was anathema to Shaftesbury, who disliked that country and hated the possibility of a Catholic, or near Catholic, monarch. Though Shaftesbury remained interested in politics and played an influential part in the councils of the Whigs, he relinquished his seat in the House of Commons after only three years as a member.