Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay

1299 Words Oct 13th, 2015 6 Pages
Two political theorists, Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, have written extensively on the topic of political philosophy. In doing so, they provide different accounts seeking to justify sovereignty. Sovereignty is generally understood as supreme power or authority, although the writers provide analysis outlining features that play a role in justifying their account of sovereignty. These two authors are consent theorists, so they endorse the idea that the basis of governance relies on individuals entering consensual relationships with one another (In Class Notes 9/1). There are commonalities and differences in the accounts described by Hobbes and Rousseau, focusing on a few main features. These features include the “state of nature”, human nature, social contracting, and the emergence of a sovereign power and government in civil society.
To start, the writers describe the “state of nature” as they see it. Part of interpreting the “natural states” they refer to is identifying how they view human nature. Both consent theorists proclaim how and why a social contract is formed. Hobbes and Rousseau define what a sovereign consists of and justify the emergence of this sovereign power under a social contract following from the state of nature. Finally, they express their views about how government emerges in the context of sovereignty under a social contract and identify their favored form of government. After outlining these features of their accounts that play…

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