Hobbes And Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Common Theory Of Government Power

1511 Words 6 Pages
Government power has been found to be a necessary facet of civilized life, as such there are multiple views predominately found through the common theory of social contract, realized by famous thinkers, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Locke. Each of these individuals take an attempt in answering how government power should function. Additionally, these individuals elaborate on how said power should affect human living conditions. Hobbes, Rousseau, and Locke have different and somewhat opposite positions on the subject of social contract. For this reason it is necessary to explain each thinker’s position. Starting with Hobbes, it is imperative to note that the majority of his argument is heavily shaped by the English Civil War. …show more content…
This idea falls in line with what Rousseau finds to be natural rights of the people. There is not a particular list of these rights, however, they are explained in following as, whatever is necessary to survive, so long as it does not bring harm to others. Rousseau says more specifically, “…Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, inspires all men this other maxim of natural goodness…Do what is good for you with the least possible harm to other.” (Discourse on Inequality, p. 85). This being the main point of what is naturally right, Rousseau also points out that this right makes men unequal. It makes individuals unequal as it is hardly perceived within nature, or more directly, “…inequality is barely perceptible in the state of nature and that its influence there is almost nonexistent…” (Discourse on Inequality, p. 89). Nevertheless, Rousseau’s social contract creates a society joined by a general will that all are agreed upon and abided by everyone equally. What Rousseau is arguing for is that of a direct rule by the people in the form of a direct democracy. The reason behind this is that Rousseau does not believe that government representation is enough, citizens cannot just delegate there their civic duties. According to Rousseau, civic engagement must …show more content…
Locke’s image of the state of nature is not that of a perfect paradise, nor is it a state of war, rather it is chaotic, but neither good nor bad. Men are in perfect liberty to do as they please, but are bound to the law of nature, which also allows them to have a higher moral capacity, and most of all, men are equal. Locke describes it as, “…a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature…” (Second Treatise of Government, 4). Additionally, he describes, “A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another…” (Second Treatise of Government, 4). Consequently, amidst the chaotic state, individuals wish to relinquish their natural state in order to secure the advantages of civilized

Related Documents