Thomas Hobbes And John Stuart Mill Essay

1992 Words Mar 31st, 2016 8 Pages
Throughout time different political thinkers have debated the extent of personal liberties that an individual ought to possess and these writers have attempted to understand the relationship between the state’s power and its citizens freedom. Thomas Hobbes believes in limited freedom while Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Stuart Mill argue in favour of more extensive personal liberty. Hobbes’ Leviathan, Rousseau’s Of the Social Contract and Mill’s On Liberty all describe the importance of liberty and how it ought to be perceived; Hobbes takes a much more conservative route in his definition of liberty arguing for political stability over personal freedom compared to the more liberal views of Rousseau and Mill who believe that society benefits when its members are not oppressed.
Thomas Hobbes was a conservative individual and therefore his definition of liberty reflected his political beliefs. Hobbes advocated for political stability and personal security over individual liberty and therefore passionately stated in his definition of liberty that it is better if humans surrender their personal liberties in exchange for political protection. Hobbes wrote during the time of the English Civil War and these events were heavily reflected within his writing. This time demonstrated a tremendous amount of political instability within the state and the violent war caused tension and unrest amongst the citizens. Hobbes advocates for the need for an all-powerful sovereign in order…

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