State Of Nature: Thomas Hobbes And John Locke

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The state of nature is a philosophical device used to denote the hypothetical conditions of what the lives of people may have been like prior to societies coming into existence. This foundation of thinking poses many different scenarios and questions about the state of nature. Where some theorists remain optimistic about a state of nature, others argue it would be disastrous and impossible without a government. The way, in which one envisions the society will have drastic consequences for how the state and function is perceived. Two prime examples we can look at today are Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Both John Locke and Thomas Hobbes have major differences in their perception of the state of nature. Both seem to have major divides in regards …show more content…
Hobbes for instance, believing that the state of nature is enviably a state of war explains that society needs a strong government to maintain order, ensuring that people do not lapse into war. This is why he argues for an absolute monarch. Hobbes view is that everyone is born with rights that they relinquish to the monarch in return for safety and protection. This is called the social contract. When people do this, they are essentially giving up their freedom and liberty, surrendering all control to the monarch. This would give the government the ability to do whatever they felt was necessary. Hobbes sees the government as a way of restraining the naturally selfish natures people possess so that they can live and work together in society. This is quite the opposite view of Locke. Locke promotes more of an optimistic viewpoint arguing that the best form of government is a democracy. All people are born with rights and liberty and can be trusted to govern a society themselves and must ban together and create a working society. Where as Hobbes believes that people need to be restrained, Locke promotes that the point of a government is to serve as a third party for any issues, but not dictate. Unlike an absolute monarch, a democracy has very little power over its citizens. It stands on rules on consent and the ability to regulate people is drastically limited. People give up much more of their liberty and freedoms in an absolute monarch than a

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