What Is The Difference Between Hobbes And Rousseau

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Hobbes and Rousseau differ in their ideas on the state of nature, Hobbes has a negative view, while Rousseau believes we were better off in the state of nature. The basis for their different ideas on the state of nature contribute to their diverging ideas on their accounts of government by social contract. Hobbes argues for citizens relinquishing their authority to the state, while Rousseau contends for the sovereign authority to be in the hand of the citizens. I will argue that Rousseau makes a more convincing argument because it is one of compromise rather than extremism. Hobbes’ account of government by social contract is based on the basic principle and rational that people give up some of their rights in order to feel secure. According …show more content…
Rousseau criticizes the state of nature described by Hobbes; instead of a constant state of fear, Rousseau described it as equality and happiness. Through the passage of time, the state of nature started to disappear as small communities formed, here man started to make comparisons to one another as class divisions developed. For Rousseau private property was a drastic change because communities went away from a simple state to one that consisted of greed and rivalry. Disapproving of Hobbes, who argued that people surrendered rights to an overall “ruler”, Rousseau believed people surrendered their rights to each other, in other words the community. For Rousseau, modern civilization took away the good parts of the early societies and replaced it with a society revolved around the state. The ‘general will’ would now govern the states, taking away one’s natural rights, but gaining them civil liberties. According to Rousseau, the ‘general will’ was when man gave power to the majority and essentially hoped that they would govern correctly. By following the guidelines set out than one would essentially be governing themselves because the guidelines of society are set up with consideration for the ‘general will’. Rousseau valued the idea of people’s sovereignty and for him the state, ‘general will’, laws, and guidelines were …show more content…
One of the reasons I would dismiss Hobbes’ argument is because by making an absolute sovereignty that ruler is assumed to have the same values as his people. I do not necessarily find this true because a ruler and his people are on two completely different social positions, meaning circumstances could differ resulting in contrasting values. Hobbes’ argument about civil war being less likely also seems puzzling to me because a civil war could arise from one side being in support of a monarchy and another side could support a self-governing state. I certainly would not support the idea of one person representing an entire state; for example, imagining some of the presidential candidates I have not cared for maintaining all power is alarming to think about. A reason I find Rousseau’s argument more convincing is because I like the idea of ‘general will’. If ‘general will’ did not exist than everyone would try to run the state how they would like to, without much compromise. A state cannot run effectively if there are too many people trying to govern it, with a state many diverse ideas are compromised into an effective set of guidelines and rules to govern making Rousseau’s argument more

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