Compare And Contrast Thomas Hobbes And John Locke

1037 Words5 Pages
Noted for their impactful political thinking during the mid-to-late 17th century, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke proposed contrasting theories that attempted to explain how humans live in a state of nature and how they must live in a state of law. According to Hobbes, man lives in a perpetual state of war that can only be averted by the power of that of a royal absolutist. Contrary to Hobbes’s theory, Locke proposed the idea that men are inherently good, and need an even-handed government that operates on the consent of the governed. This paper will compare and examine how Thomas Hobbes and John Locke approach man’s natural state, and their speculations of how people are to be governed in their respective books, Leviathan and The Second Treatise of Government.

Having been caught in the trappings of a large conflict between Parliamentarians and Royalists over the matter of English government, Thomas Hobbes gleaned his outlook on the human condition almost entirely from the social and political turmoil he had witnessed during the English civil war. Hobbes’s perspective is manifested in his 1651 publication of Leviathan, where he describes human nature as “a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death . . . he cannot be content with a moderate power, but because he cannot assure the power and means to live well, which he hath present, without the acquisition of more.” Shaped by an eternal need for dominion over one’s fellow men in terms of
Get Access