John Locke And John Rousseau

1430 Words Oct 16th, 2014 6 Pages
An emergence from the state of nature to civilization drives man to ponder the role of government in his life. Democracy, defined broadly as an institution in which citizens in some capacity determine the actions of the commonwealth, has drawn both praise and criticism. Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and John-Jacques Rousseau all present differing opinions of democracy in their respective texts. While Hobbes rejects the notion based on man’s inability to think of others, Locke and Rousseau both engage it within their theories to varying extents while simultaneously offering doubt about the reality of it.
Hobbes’ Leviathan critically analyzes possible forms of government in context of the inherent character of man. Hobbes’ proposal of the ideal government is undoubtedly derived from his view of human nature. In the state of nature, man is equal, giving them equal capacity to do anything to survive. Hobbes characterizes man as inherently violent. The state of nature, he insists, is a “state of warre” in which every man was against every man (Hobbes 88) in an effort to pursue their own selfish desires. There are no laws, and because there is no one to enforce laws, no consequences. This results in violent environment, where fear of death run rampant. The life of man in the state of nature, Hobbes famously declares, is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short (Hobbes 89).”
For as much as man is selfish, however, he is reasonable. This reason will compel man to seek some kind of…
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