The Argument Of Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes

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In Leviathan, Hobbes seeks to refute the argument of Machiavelli, that the best governments are those of usurpation or those taken and maintained by any means necessary, in order to preserve the sovereignty of government after England had been on the verge of civil war. In order to refute the argument for one in favor of a representative, sovereign government, he begins by describing the reasons for a civil government. He then explains the existence of the natural laws and their applications to governing in order to prove that a sovereign government is the best form. Finally, he lays an idealistic foundation upon which sovereign governments should be built in order to be truly beneficial. Hobbes begins by justifying the formation of a civil …show more content…
To do this, Hobbes introduces an idealistic foundation for the method by which principalities should be instituted. Rather than being taken by force, Hobbes believes that the best form of government is one in which the citizens unite as one body represented by one man or a group of men. He says this should be done with mutual consent which he describes as a, “covenant of every man with every man, in such manner as if every man should say to every man, I authorize and give up my right of governing myself to this man or to this assembly of men, on this condition, that you give up the right to him, and authorize all his actions in like manner.” He refers to this form of government as a commonwealth by institution. Hobbes says that this is one of two ways to gain sovereign power over the subjects of the land, the other being a commonwealth by acquisition. A commonwealth by acquisition is one that follows the ideas of Machiavelli and the power is gained by forcing people to submit by threat of destruction. Hobbes says that the way of consent is superior due to the fact that the subject cannot, justly, “be obedient to any other,” “cast off monarchy and return to the confusion of a dis-untied multitude,” or break their covenant with any of their fellow subjects. The limitation on these actions allows for a united society that cannot be seen as being unfair in any way, as the subjects have, willingly, given their consent and approval for the actions of the sovereign. To further explain this idea, Hobbes writes about the liberties of the subjects and how they are truly free. To begin, Hobbes defines liberty, or freedom, as being the absence of opposition. He says that the subjects are free because, “generally all actions which men do in commonwealths for fear of the law, are actions

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