Comparing John Locke and Thomas Hobbes Essay

1279 Words 6 Pages
The formation of government is one of the central themes for both Hobbes and Locke. Whether or not men naturally form a government, or must form a government, is based on man’s basic nature. According to Hobbes, a government must be formed to preserve life and prevent loss of property. According to Locke, a government arises to protect life and property. Governments are born of inequality and formed to administer equality.

Hobbes goes into a lot of detail concerning man’s interactions with one another including ways in which man can seek to live "together in Peace, and Unity" (page 69). However, Hobbes focuses on the interactions of man seeking the same goal. In any system of limited resources, "Competition of
…show more content…
	Unlike Hobbes, whose laws of nature have to deal with man’s preserving of his own life, Locke chooses to apply the term to the idea of reason, by saying that if man reasons about the fundamental concerns that government arises to protect life and property, man can come to certain natural conclusions about how they should be protected.

	One of Locke’s central themes is the distribution of property. In a state of natural abundance "all the fruits it naturally produces, and beasts it feeds, belong to mankind in common" (page 18). In this situation the only thing man naturally owns is "his own person. This no body has any right to but himself" (page 18). Therefore, man is in a way equal, however it is an imperfect equality. "Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property" (page 18). Therefore, everything belongs to mankind in general, until a man decides to take it upon himself to acquire something from its pure state in nature, and since he has to work to achieve this, the fruits of the labor are his.

	Locke also believes that if somebody takes more than he can use, and it
Open Document