Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau

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Although Thomas Hobbes and Jean Jacques Rousseau are both considered Enlightenment thinkers, their ideas vary greatly in the political continuum. Both of their theories have certain components which may appear to be symmetric, but upon closer examination, their differences stem from the very way in which they view human nature. From there, each man builds up to the creation of a commonwealth in a way that reflects which type of government they support. The political theories of Hobbes and Rousseau share many common aspects including the existence of a state of nature, an exit of the state of nature by the people, and the formation of a civil society. However, Thomas Hobbes’ theory, which leads to the formation of an absolute monarchy, is superior to Jean Jacques Rousseau’s theory that everyone should attempt to create a society that closely resembles the original state of nature where everyone collectively is the sovereign because Hobbes’ negative views of human nature are more realistic than Rousseau’s, and fear is a more powerful motivator than an agreed upon will. The state of nature was one point on which Hobbes and Rousseau’s opinions varied greatly. The state of nature is defined by Hobbes as an environment where every man is for himself because there is no common body to unite them. Hobbes saw the state of nature as a dangerous and unpleasant place where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, short” (Hobbes, Pg. 76). Also, every man has a reason to fear every
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