Thomas Hobbes And John Locke

911 WordsSep 30, 20154 Pages
Two of the most prominent figures in social contract theory, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke established many of the founding ideals that contemporary Liberalism is based on. While the shared many similar positions, there are some key distinctions to be made between the arguments Hobbes and Locke make in Leviathan and Second Treatise of Civil Government, respectively. In this paper I will argue the differences between how each of them viewed the right of the subjects to revolt from the sovereign. Thomas Hobbes published his most famous work, Leviathan, during the height of the English Civil War. This was possibly the most violent and chaotic time in all of British history, and is certainly reflected in Hobbes’ writing. He introduces his view on the state of nature, that is, society without government, as a state of war, in which the lives of men are “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” (Hobbes 89) From this state of nature he describes natural laws, which help to form the purpose of government in his eyes. The first, and “Fundamental Law of Nature” is that men “seek peace, and follow it” (92) This fundamental law is also what he believes a sovereign is meant to uphold. He argues that the Sovereign must do everything in their power to preserve the commonwealth. Hobbes strongly advocates for an authoritarian form of government. John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government was published after Leviathan though still during the English Civil War. As a wealthy landowner, Locke

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