Force, Morality and Rights in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Social Contract Theories

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Force, Morality and Rights in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Social Contract Theories Throughout history, the effects of the unequal distribution of power and justice within societies have become apparent through the failure of governments, resulting in the creation of theories regarding ways to balance the amount of power given and the way in which justice is enforced. Due to this need for change, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke created two separate theories in which the concept of a social contract is used to determine the ways in which a government can govern without forfeiting justice. In this essay, the relationship between force, morality, and rights within both theories will be investigated in order to determine the most beneficial …show more content…
“Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man, against every man.” (Hobbes 403). Hobbes conveys the idea that without the common power of a universal authority to regulate society, mankind will self-destruct due to the weaknesses of our own human nature (Hobbes 403). According to Hobbes, men are greatly influenced by external forces which are constantly pressing upon them which create wants and needs, which Hobbes defines as “appetites and aversions.” (Hobbes 393). These desires and dislikes create what Hobbes deems, “the Passions”, which contribute to the overall choices men make in their daily lives, thus creating the basis of human nature. The prominent downfall of mankind is the desire for ultimate power that supersedes the power of anybody else. This craving for power is precisely why Hobbes has such a desolate view on human nature. “For such is the nature of men, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves.” (Hobbes 402). This selfish component of mankind creates the clash of power so prominent in Hobbes’ illustration of the state of nature. In order to overcome the detrimental power-clash related effects within a society living in the state of nature as defined by Hobbes, it
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