Haven't found the Essay You Want?
GET YOUR CUSTOM ESSAY SAMPLE
For Only $12.90/page

Political Theory Essay

Introduction While approaching the writings of major philosophical figures in the 16th century and the 17th century there emerges several weaknesses in addition to their political thought in their time. In his work, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Quentin Skinner’s emphasises the ‘textualist’ approach by the ones writing within the genre of political theory and further claim that they “rarely supplies us with genuine histories”. 1 Skinner seems to engage in a ‘historical’ approach to the writings of political thought, which goes hand in hand with the social and political context of the period the major works were composed.

Indeed, this proves fruitful for this analysis, and therefore it will be provided a narrow historical review of the period the works were written, in order to present the remarkable similarity between the causes of political thought. Accordingly, there will be implemented a comparison of the philosophers, Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin, focusing primarily of their concept of the state and the church and the differences between the two models of political thought.

In terms of the state, the focus will lie on the citizens and the sovereign rule; in terms of the church, an analysis of its place within the governmental framework will be provided. The primary sources used as a basis for this analysis is the work of Jean Bodin Six Books of the Commonwealth, translated by M. J. Tooley, and Hobbes On the Citizen, edited by Richard Tuck & Michael Silverthorne. In grasping the political works of Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin it is important to remember that their perception of the state was born in an age of crisis. As central themes of his political thought Hobbes was concerned with peace, security and order; however, religion was omnipresent throughout his experience of life and through his works.

For Hobbes the only valid proposition of a natural religion was that something must have created the world, but who or what is not for certain. 2 Most important he also believed that religious division was a significant factor for the origins of war. The basics of Hobbes theory was to add the will to avoid religious conflict and restore peace into one or a group of biological people that was to further secure the will of the state. Like Hobbes, Bodin was concerned with preserving order and his relation to religion is said to be complex. Although he was less familiar with the New political from his religious thought.

’3 However, entering deeper into the religious life of Bodin it is palpable that he never adhered to one true theological standpoint throughout his lifetime. 4 Another factor of correlation between the two political thinkers is their personal historical background containing the experience of war, which largely contributed as one of their causes for writing. Most known for his work and best-seller, Leviathan, the Englishman Thomas Hobbes was to be acknowledged as an important contribution to the philosophical field in his lifetime and all the way to the 21th century.

Hobbes was born in 1588 in Westport raised by his non-wealthy family, fortunately being paid for by his uncle to get an education when the time was right. 5 Entering the field of the enlightened, Hobbes at an age of 54 later produced his first claim to fame, De Cive (On the Citizen), published in Latin edition in 1642 which is characterised as one of the forerunners to his major work Leviathan. Here, it is important reconsider what is omnipresent throughout both, De Cive and Leviathan, namely fear: in order to understand his political thought.

Some tend to regard Hobbes as a synonym to the concept of fear even though this impossibly cannot be so, however it does not reject King’s argument that Hobbes had experienced disorder in society and therefore feared political chaos. 6 England during the 17th century can in be referred to as a period of transformation both in terms of politics and religion. Historically, throughout Hobbes lifetime (1588 – 1679) the political circumstances in the years of 1642 to 1651 prove to stand out painted in the colour of red. The Reformation left deep traces and was not yet to relinquish as its religious struggles was to turn into a fight of power between the King and the Parliament.

7 The English Civil war provided an environment such as extreme disorder and civil insecurity to be explanatory for the horrors it brought the 6? 7’8′? 9???????????????????????????????? #??????? “????? $? *:??????????????? )? “?? :?????? ;0?.?? /???? 1– 1? <!???? /???? 1–‘? =? >’? :?!???? (??? 4 ?!!??????????? /? $????? <??? ?????????? @?? (?????? 5?? JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES,? ??? ‘? =???? ‘? 1? *9/? ‘?? ;6-.??? A=? B?? ;-?? HTTP://WWW. JSTOR. ORG/STABLE/3745504 0?????????? ,???????????????? $?????????? *3????? @???????? 3?????? 9????? )? +? 2????? ;A1.?? /???? =0 A? 8? ‘? 9’? C???????? D7???? @?????? %????????????

$E??????????????????????????? $????? ‘??????? ‘?? *??? ‘?? F;0.? //’? F?? B?? -1????? G/? HH222’I???? ‘??? H???!?? H?? 6;0-6 ????? 3???? 13 Political Theory country8. In a chaotic England, Hobbes had to face his own opponents after he had written the first outline of the philosophy of the state, Elements of Law, Natural and Politic, which created an unstable environment for him to live. Indeed, adversity was for Hobbes the reason he decided to flee and choose the life in exile crossing the national boarders to France. 9 When the Civil War was over, he returned home to the end of his life, still absorbed in scientific activity.

A lesser-known philosopher yet one of the most ambitious and prolific French scholars, Jean Bodin, was born in 1529 or 30 in the French area of Angers. Although living in separate time periods Bodin is born three years after Machiavelli’s death (1469 – 1527) and died when Thomas Hobbes was eight years of age and therefore spans precisely between these two. 10 Throughout his lifetime he was, in resemblance to Hobbes, to experience war that provoked his political thinking which prospered into what was to be known as The Six Books of the Commonwealth (1955).

Bodin was an admirable scholar and by the time he had to face his mortal destiny he made contributions to the area of science stretching from historiography to political economy. 11 Noticeable that he was among the more enlightened characters of his time, Bodin went to Paris in his youth for educational matters studying humanities. Further curious about the juridical nature of society he went to study civil law until the 1560s, and after he turned to a political career becoming a king’s advocate in Paris. A decade later he became a counsellor of the Duke of Alencon which secured him a seat at the table of the royal family, which ceased before 1576.

He then further joined the Catholic League (sometimes referred to as the Holy League) which played a major part in the French Wars of Religion (1562–98) eradicating the Protestants also called the Huguenots. 12 Primarily, The Wars involved the Catholic crown attempting to impose religious uniformity upon the large F? >

What further divided the citizens in contemporary France was their support for various versions of the Christian faith that created a warfare of self-righteousness, which for Bodin, was an erroneous societal condition. What Bodin’s beliefs could be said to represent at the time is further dubiously, but as Summerfield argues, Bodin might have believed that “Catholicism was the best ‘civil religion’ for his countrymen”. 13 Further, Bodin supported religious diversity in that Catholics should have the opportunity to embrace their faith just the Huguenots without having intolerance towards each other.

By offering a narrow description of the historical period relevant to both Hobbes and Bodin and further suggest a biographical outlook of both philosophers, the main focus have been on the facts of importance for further analysis. Main section As discussed to some extent in Bodin’s case, it is applicable to both philosophers that they were living in a time where religion was inseparable from their political thinking. Today it may seem strange that politics of much importance was molded around religious beliefs, because we live in a time where each person is free to decide what to believe and which religion to adhere to.

During the period of discussion, the church and the state had too many common interests that a division between them seemed unthinkable. For Bodin, his thought behind his Republic was the hope to restore the splendour and serve the interest of the French Monarchy, which functioned as a cornerstone in his description of the commonwealth. 14 In accordance to Hobbes, much like in the case of Bodin, his impetus of his work De Cive lie primarily in providing a solution to the religious moral conflict prevailing in 16th, 17th century England.

Bodin and the family In this section, the discussion will point to Jean Bodin’s concept of the state at a micro level. – In Book I, chapter I of the Republic the first sentence acknowledge what Bodin understands to be the nature of the Commonwealth, namely its internal structure being organised around the ?6? <!????? F1 ?1? 7???? @???????? #? @?? (????????? “????? 2???????????? ‘?? ‘7’?????? $? *3????? @???????? @????? @??? (2???? )? ?? G?? :????? ;0A.?? /???? ## ????? 5???? 13 Political Theory concept of the family (or household), ruled by a sovereign power. 15 The main premise behind.

Bodin’s concept of the family has its origins from the alteration of legislation in contemporary France creating a decrease of the “paternal authority” resulting in a “decay of family discipline”. 16 For Bodin this was not the ideal familial situation. In Rebublic, the household is portrayed as the essential unit of political organisation within the state and possess the same bilateral structure that there is to find in his ordering of the Commonwealth. Principally, the family consist of a man, which have the centralised authority within the household, a wife and children with the possibility for additional members like freedmen and slaves.

17 To illustrate; the authority of the father extends to a decision of life and death over his children; however, it is not as clear to why he should have this right. For Bodin, the family is vital for preserving the organization within the Commonwealth, he even describe its function using terms as “true image” of the Commonwealth and “model of right order” when writing of the household in the Commonwealth. 18 According to Bodin, the father like the sovereign, hold the absolute power within their sphere of influence: the father over the family, the sovereign over the families within the state.

He was also convinced that, “Il est impossible que la Republique vaille rien si les familles, qui sont les piliers d’icelle, sont mal fondees” (husk a kildefore sitater), which reveals Bodin’s obsession with order in that the commonwealth cannot be totally organized if it is not rightly constituted and thus not performing its proper function: this can also be related to the sovereign in that his guidance is useless if he cannot unite all of his members. 19 For Bodin the family is an irreducible unit of the state, for Hobbes the matter is of a different character.

Hobbes and the individual

The foregoing discussion support the underlying argument in favour of the plurality needed to form the family into a harmonious and organized entity which Bodin find crucial for the ?=? <!???? /????? ?0? 7’8′? 9???????????????????????????????? #??????? “????? $? *:??????????????? )? “?? :?????? ;0?.? /???? 1-; ?A? 7???? @???????? #? @?? (????????? “????? 2???????????? ‘?? ‘7’?????? $? *3????? @???????? @????? @??? (2???? )? ?? G?? :????? ;0A.? /???? A? ?F? 7???? @???????? #? @?? (????????? “????? 2???????????? ‘?? ‘7’?????? $? *3????? @???????? @????? @??? (2???? )? ?? G?? :????? ;0A.?? /???? 0?? MA

?;? 7’8′? 9???????????????????????????????? #??????? “????? $? *:??????????????? )? “?? :?????? ;0?.?? /???? 1-; ????? 6???? 13 Political Theory establishment of the state, according to Hobbes there is no compelling reason to argue that such is the case. In De Cive, the family is not given a pivotal place rather he pursue a more individualistic approach in accordance to Bodin’s idea of the family. However, Hobbes thoughts of the family depends much upon the entity being in an external or internal position relative to the commonwealth and if the family is being ruled by a foreign power or not. 20 As.

King argues, Hobbes is in a lesser degree concerned with the family’s position within the Commonwealth, in any case it is the process that one is being born as individuals connected to others by force and fear, or for Bodin which emphasise individuals being born into families, that is the central feature. 21 In addition, they differ in that Bodin think of the ascendancy of the sovereign as originated solely coming from the families but for Hobbes it is originated from individuals as a whole. The literature gathered in this study suggests that both Hobbes and Bodin agrees that the state must exist in order to prevent war.

The Hobbesian view of the state is founded in his definition of the natural state. The state of nature is for Hobbes a state of anarchy, where egocentric individuals fight for their right of self-preservation creating chaotic circumstances and where mutual fear is their leading motivation. Hobbes believed that the mankind maintain a will of doing harm to others, and that this derives from the need to defend their own property and liberty against others in a state of anarchistic rule.

The moral dilemma that occur in the state of nature has for Hobbes only one escape route, and that is the presence of a sovereign power, either in singular or plural form chosen by the objective will of the people due to pull them out societal chaos and secure for them peace and order. Indeed, for Hobbes the sovereign is of crucial importance: “For if this power is abolished, the commonwealth is abolished with it, and universial confusion returns. ”22 For Bodin the goal of peace and order is much in line with Hobbes’ but it does not involve a social contract as such but it thus involve a conception of fear. In Book 4, ch. 1 he describes ?-????????? ?!!???? “??!???????? #?????????? ????? $??????????????????????

?!!??? %?????? “?? &?????? ‘? ??????????? (? )??????????????????????? *+?????? ,???????? “??!?????? +???????? $????????? —.?? /????? -A? M ?? 1 ???????????? ,???????????????? $?????????? *3????? @???????? 3?????? 9????? )? +? 2????? ;A1.?? /????? F1 ?????????? ?!!???? “??!???????? #?????????? ????? $?????????????????????? ?!!??? %?????? “?? &?????? ‘? ??????????? (? )??????????????????????? *+?????? ,???????? “??!?????? +???????? $????????? —.?? /???? F? ????? 7???? 13 Political Theory the rise and fall of the commonwealth where he acknowledges that “the commonwealth can

be founded either in violence or in consent. ”23 As much as this resembles Hobbes in that disorder is the catalyst for the development state, Allen provide us with a more applicable explanation. He argues that since the interdependent relationship between the sovereign and the state is present, the realization of the sovereign may be impelled by fear, which therefore result in a state being established by force. 24 On the other side, what seem to resemble the two is the necessity of a sovereign to guide the people.

On these grounds, it is clear that Hobbes and Bodin follow a hierarchical structure in terms of the relationship between the superior and the inferior and that “command and obedience” is the central feature. On one side the similarity between them lie in their use of fear and consent as essential factors for the rising of the Commonwealth. Here, Professor Dunning offers an interesting claim placing emphasis on the contract idea that Hobbes present. He suggest that in contemporary France the social contract was for Bodin more a weapon of his opponents, which in its turn inclined him to focus on the state as a model evolving out of the inherent characteristics of the man and his surroundings.

25 On the other side the philosophers tend to differ in that Bodin support the idea that the sovereign should rule over the families and Hobbes believed in the individualistic characterisation of the social contract. Moreover, who are the ones (person or group) that should rule over the families featuring Bodin and the individual’s characteristic of Hobbes? The sovereign To portray the issue of the nature of sovereignty, Hobbes like Bodin believed, that in order to prevent war absolute power placed in single or plural entity was necessary.

Within the sphere of political theory, The Republic could be said to contain the first fully developed theory of sovereignty, however one could argue that Marsiglio of Padua was the one close enough to find all the elements of the subject but where there occurred gaps, Bodin was to fulfil these perfectly. 26 In case of his descendant, it would be absurd to assert that Hobbes followed his forerunner slavishly. ?6? 7???? @???????? #? @?? (????????? “????? 2???????????? ‘?? ‘7’?????? $? *3????? @???????? @????? @??? (2???? )? ?? G?? :????? ;0A.? /????? -; ?1? 7’8′? 9???????????????????????????????? #???????

“????? $? *:??????????????? )? “?? :?????? ;0?.? /???? 1?? ?=? 8? ‘? 9’? C???????? D7???? @?????? %???????????? $E??????????????????????????? $????? ‘??????? ‘??? *??? ‘?? F;0.?? //’? F?? B?? -1????? G/? HH222’I???? ‘??? H???!?? H?? 6;0-6 ????? 8???? 13 Political Theory Bodin’s theory of a “commonwealth is normally taken as the starting point of modern times” and this because of its clear composed nature of the rights and power of the sovereign. 27 His definition of sovereignty in the Republic was written as an entity holding “absolute and perpetual power vested in a commonwealth”.

28 Here the power is not only absolute, but perpetual at the same time, nonetheless he is careful not to use this definition outside its theoretical field of use, he further states; “For if one confines to that which has no termination whatever, then sovereignty cannot subsist save in aristocracies and popular states, which never die. ”29 The central point here is that Bodin agrees to an unlimited and despotic government but without taking the concept of perpetuity too far.

His theory of sovereignty is based on the nature of absolutism and it is clear that he was a champion of monarchic absolutism and preferred that it should be invested in a single prince; whereas Hobbes share his concern but differ in that he was inclined to apply this to a collective group of people. For Hobbes the King and commonwealth is intertwined, in that one cannot talk about the one of them from the other.

He comprehend the sovereign as withholding the will of the citizens consisting of absolute power; “the greatest power that men can confer, greater than any power than an individual power can have over himself. ”30 In accordance to the legislation within the Commonwealth both Hobbes’ and Bodin’s sovereign is able to make his own laws, which also extended to the fact that he is not subject to it.

For Hobbes the thought of the King to be subject to the Commonwealth and law would be irrational, the Sovereign is the embodiment of the Commonwealth. The sovereign is therefore not bound by obligations towards his citizens and if the sovereign is to act immoral, that is a matter between himself and God. As it has been important to discuss citizens’ role within the state and their relationship to the sovereign making it easier to fully understand the means of absolute power, it is also ?0? 7’+’:? 2???? 7???? @???? N??

O:?????????????????? $N?? POLI? CAL STUDIES?? 0?? //’? -0M?? ?A? ??????? 7′? :?? (??????????????????????????????? $? )??????????? $?? *L? 2? P?? (?? ????????? @????? )? “?? /?? $??? ;??.? /????? A ?F? 7???? @???????? #? @?? (????????? “????? 2???????????? ‘?? ‘7’?????? $? *3????? @???????? @????? @??? (2???? )? ?? G?? :????? ;0A.? /????? =’? ?;? <!???? /????? 0 6-????????? ?!!???? “??!???????? #?????????? ????? $?????????????????????? ?!!??? %?????? “?? &?????? ‘? ??????????? (? )??????????????????????? *+?????? ,???????? “??!?????? +???????? $????????? —.? /???? F? ????? 9???? 13

Political Theory important to take this with us when we shall now discuss the church and how the state is related to it. The church An interesting question arise when one should determine, in a time where religion was almost too present, where the authority of the church lay within the spheres of the absolute rule. Religious upheaval in France and England in the 16th, 17th century had its origins from the breakup of the mediaeval church that destroyed the framework of older forms of political thinking. As long as there was a universally recognized Church the possibility to practice a

unilateral faith was possible, but to place this authority under the prince may have been an impracticable demand. When there later came a time of religious uncertainty and the development of a new faith, people was faced with the opportunity to choose which in its turn lead to confusion. The hierarchy of the Catholic church and the Church of England and France had both claimed that their authority comes directly from God and that they was set out to practice the faith of the nation: as a rebuttal to this point, it might be argued that the political thought of both

Bodin and Hobbes was not to find a fertile ground in this statement. Chapter XVII of De Cive constitutes the argument of the relationship between the sovereign and the Church stating that any authority given from God has its place within the sphere of sovereign power. For Hobbes absolute ecclesiastical power was vested in the sovereign, which included the right to interpret the Holy Scriptures.

31 One could argue that Hobbes needed an absolute sovereign as the solution to the problem of war: if the sovereign had the absolute authority of the Church and over the citizens, war would have been unproductive because no one can challenge the ruler, achieve results and further depose him. If the church would go against the sovereign it would go against the religious power of the state which would seem illogical, and in case of the citizens they do not have any authority to bring down the King because he is appointed upon a social contract representing the will of the people.

On logical grounds there seem a compelling reason to argue that the law of God has a fundamental place within the political thought of Bodin. He does not tend enlarge upon the place of religion within the sphere of politics within the Republic in contrast to Hobbes who 6?? <!???? /????? ;; ????? 10???? 13 Political Theory has a whole section devoted to the concept of religion, however it is clear that he never meant that the state was forced to establish a form of religious and demand conformity to it. 32 Rather he meant that the state must create the soil from with religion could grow, therefore it is safe to say that the Church had a place within the state and that with this it followed religious duties.

Hobbes had a different view on the ecclesiastical power of the state than Bodin; “the Commonwealth and the Church (are) of the same Christian men” and “exactly the same thing under two names. ”33 Further Hobbes says that this synonymity rest upon the common feature between the two, the Christian people, and that the two instances is the only one to gather them. Personally, Hobbes was an erastian; he believed that the state should rule the Church. For Bodin. Religion created obedience that form the basis of his version of the commonwealth. The sovereign is the voice of the Church, but his determination of practicing the religious faith is relative and rest upon his will to make it flourish or not.

Indeed, in the Rebublic the word of the sovereign “should be as sacred as a divine pronouncement. ” 34 Conclusion Throughout this analysis the attempt to create a fertile discussion of the nature of the state and its place in relation to the church have been central, which have been built upon the effort to create a narrow historical review in the wide field of history. There have also been provided an discussion of the similarities and differences between Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin within the selected themes of this assignment. What is clear is that one cannot simply divide 6? 7???? @???????? #?

@?? (????????? “????? 2???????????? ‘?? ‘7’?????? $? *3????? @???????? @????? @??? (2???? )? ?? G?? :????? ;0A.? /???? ##?? 66????????? ?!!???? “??!???????? #?????????? ????? $?????????????????????? ?!!??? %?????? “?? &?????? ‘? ??????????? (? )??????????????????????? *+?????? ,???????? “??!?????? +???????? $????????? —.? /??????? 617???? @???????? #? @?? (????????? “????? 2???????????? ‘?? ‘7’?????? $? *3????? @???????? @????? @??? (2???? )? ?? G?? :????? ;0A.? /???? 6-? ????? 11????

13 Political Theory politics from religion in a time where they were inseparable, like one cannot divide Bodin’s idea of the family and Hobbes’ concept of the individual without removing the cornerstone of their theories. Both philosophers tried to provide the best solution to their contemporary struggles in France and England, and in case of their theory of absolute sovereignty it can be said their impetus was to lead the way out of the labyrinth of war with peace as their rewarding result. Both theories have portrayed a hierarchy of power, where God has the solemn authority and the earthly sovereign is positioned as subject to him but holds the right to interpreter of the faith of the state making him more or less the mouthpiece of God.

Built upon this statement the Church has a duty within the state: it is just reliant on the degree of initiative practised by the sovereign in Bodin case and for Hobbes it is more a matter absolute affiliation to the religious role that the sovereign holds. To conclude, even though Bodin and Hobbes had different starting points, went by different routes they more or less reached the same goal placing the political and religious within the hands of the absolute sovereign List of references Allen, J. W. Political Thought of the Sixteenth Century. London: Methuen & Co Ltd, 1961.Franklin, Julian, H. International Library of Essays in the History of Social and Political Thought: Jean Bodin. England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2006 ????? 12???? 13 Political Theory King, Preston.

The ideology of order. Great Britain: George Allen & Unwin, 1974 Laski, Harold J. The Foundation of Sovereignty and other writings. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1921 Lewis, J. U. , “Jean Bodin’s ‘Logic of Sovereignty’”, Political Studies 16 (1968): pp. 206 – 222 Lubienski. Z. “Hobbes’ Philosophy and Its Historical Background”, Journal of Philosophical Studies vol. 5, no. 4 (Apr.1930): 175 – 190, http://www. jstor. org/stable/3745504 Skinner, Quentin. The Foundations of Modern Political Thought: Volume 1, The Renaissance.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002 Summerfield, Baldwin, Jean Bodin and the League, The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jul. , 1937), pp. 160-184 Tooley, M. J, trans. Jean Bodin: Six Books of the Commonwealth. Great Britain: Basil Blackwell & Mott, Ltd, 1967 Tuck, Richard & Silverthorne, Michael, ed. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought: Thomas Hobbes On the Citizen. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2000 ?


Essay Topics:


Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email. Please, specify your valid email address

We can't stand spam as much as you do No, thanks. I prefer suffering on my own