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Hobbes vs Locke Essay

Locke Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were known as Social Contract Theorists, and Natural Law Theorists. The two men both had very strong views on freedom and how a country should be governed. Thomas Hobbes had more of a Pessimistic view while John locke had more of an Optimistic view. Hobbes and Locke believed in a type of Social Contract between the Government and being governed. Hobbes believed in Absolute Monarchs and Locke believed in the will of people being governed. Hobbes opposed constitutionalism because of his pessimistic appraisal of human nature.

They both had extremely different views on government, but the bases of their arguments were similar. They both used reason to justify their ideas, rather than divine right. Although both men acknowledged that there was a God, He played a very small role in their ideologies. I believe that both Hobbes and Locke are genuinely correct. Thomas Hobbes believed mankind good and evil depended on what the individual loved and hated. He believed that life in the state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

” (119) Mankind was naturally equal in power of mind and body so no individual was capable of dominating another. In a strictly natural condition there was no justice or injustice because everyone had their right to seek and take whatever is good and dispose of whatever was bad for them. He was for absolute monarchy. Thomas Hobbes believed that “authoritarian governments were necessary to keep human beings’ worst impulses under control. ”(119) He did not believe that a large group of men would agree with one and other and peacefully run a country.

Hobbes opposed constitutionalism because of his pessimistic view of human nature. The passages in Hobbes writings show that he did not desire the possibility of anything like modern totalitarianism. For Hobbes, any division of power was an invitation to chaos. Locke believed all men should be free but should some freedom be sacrificed in return for security and protection from the government. He states that Man Kind should surrender “absolute liberty in exchange for the protection of life, liberty, and the right to own property.

”(125) He also believed that mankind could form a social contract together that would bring a nation together. John Locke defended the establishment of constitutional government in England and influenced the framers of the American Constitution. He believed that most people had the sense to see that others had certain rights, such as the right to life, because they were human beings. Most people were disposed to respect these rights. John Locke, the principal theorist of modern liberalism, apparently assumed that government would generally be carried on by a hereditary aristocracy.

A person was not obliged to obey unless he had voluntarily agreed to do so. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were both very intelligent Philosophers. Their beliefs in my opinion, are influential and reflect different aspects of our government today. In my opinion, it is hard to agree or disagree on some of their beliefs. Works Cited Hobbes, Thomas. “from Leviathan. “ Reading The World: Ideas That Matter. 2nd Ed. Ed. Austin Michael. New York: Norton, 2010. 119. Print. Hobbes, Thomas. “from Leviathan. ” Reading the World: Ideas That Matter. 2nd Ed. Ed. Austin Michael. New York: Norton, 2010. 125. Print.


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