Thomas Hobbes And John Locke: The Power Of Man As A Civil Society

Human life has long been shaped and susceptible to civil society. John Locke theorizes that man, by nature, is a social animal. Mankind is more apt to gain freedoms, identities, and interests through a civil society, rather than nature. However, another philosopher and writer believed differently; Thomas Hobbes was of the idea that man was not of a societal nature and that society could and would not exist except for the power of a state. Hobbes, in his writings, took on more of a philosophical absolutism approach for his theories on government and men, whereas Locke took a philosophical and biblical constitutionalism approach towards government and human life. Locke theorized that a civil society comes before the state, both morally and …show more content…
Locke says that men give up their right to attempt retribution for crimes against them in return for fair justice supported by overwhelming force. Man retains the right to life and liberty, and gains the right to just and impartial protection of their property. Hobbes, however, has a drastically different approach. Put simply, its man against man. Hobbes alleged that every man is another man’s mortal enemy. He also states that no matter what the sovereign does, whether it is unlawful, unjust, or violent, it does not constitute an encroachment of the social contract. Additionally, Hobbes states that the people have no right to rebel whatsoever. The sovereign’s will is the definition of good or evil for their subjects. He (the monarch) does not wrong, because lawful/unlawful and good/evil are at the discretion of the will of the sovereign. Locke disagrees and states that the state exists to solely to protect the natural rights of its people. When a government fails to do so, citizens have the right (and even the duty) to renounce their support and even to rebel. Locke opposes Hobbes’s view that the original state of nature was “nasty, brutish, and short,” and that people, by way of a social contract, yielded their rights as to benefit their own self. Locke counters with this, “And hence it is that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power does …show more content…
He was of the opinion that people are born with rights, which they then resign to the sovereign in return of protections, this was known as a social contract. He thought that men were selfish and cruel and only acted in their own self-interests. He did not think that men could be trusted to rule themselves and that an absolute ruler was necessary to maintain civil societal order; the purpose of government was to uphold justice, law, and order. For Locke, he was more in favor of a democratic form of government. Locke believed that individuals were born with certain unalienable rights (life, liberty, and the right to property). He also thought that people were more than capable of governing themselves. Locke theorized that the purpose of government was to ensure and protect the people’s rights and liberties. According to Locke, the only important role of the government was to ensure that justice is done. According to Hobbes, no matter what the government does, it is just by the very meaning of the word; all of society is a direct design of the state and a deliberation of the determination of the

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