Montesquieu argued that to protect the rights of the nation and the security of destruction from the law; self governing bodies must possess individual powers to slow down the natural tendencies of an absolute monarchy. Basically Montesquieu thought that in order to get out of an absolute monarchy and to govern yourself; you must protect the rights of your country and stop the destruction of your country from the law. He thought that human beings could solve society's problems by using their ability to reason. Montesquieu thought that people should take a direct part in their government and not follow what a king or dictator says. That the people living in the country should decide what laws they live by and what there freedoms are.
The proper use and limits of governmental power have different implications for each theorist that we have studied. Some see its power as all-encompassing, while others see it as more narrow, controlled and regulated. For this essay, I chose to examine the philosophies of the theorists with whom I disagree with the least: Rousseau, Locke, and Rawls. One can always recall Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s famous line: “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” This sentence expressed his opposition to the idea that individual should be forced to give up their natural rights to a king. His idea of political power is that which comes from a social contract, and is entered into by participants who desire protection of life, liberty, and property, while still maintaining a good amount of freedom.
The idea of a governing body drawing its power directly from its constituents has been undermined by the corrupt nature of modern politics where politicians act out of self-interest. While the Constitution and later amendments had every intention of securing basic liberties, certain limitations later undermined the original intentions of the founding fathers to give power back to the people by placing the larger majority of power in the hands of the state. Federal limitations to certain amendments, known as federal mandates, have taken power away from the masses. To secure democracy and avoid further abuses of power by the judicial courts, an amendment should be made to the Constitution prohibiting the federal government from putting down mandates that directly interfere with the power given to the states by law. Federal politicians use desultory commands as leverage to ensure that the states comply with their wishes.
He argued that to be successful in politics certain qualities were of importance and ethics could not stand in the way. Machiavelli stated that a Prince’s power should be maintained in being feared and loved, and possessing control over the people. Rousseau on the other hand was an eighteen century philosopher and writer. Unlike Machiavelli, his view’s on political and modern philosophies were influenced by the French Revolution. Rousseau believed in a legitimate government that was elected by a civil society based on social contract.
For this, I argue that Rousseau’s idea of forcing citizens to be free is a dangerous notion. In stating that citizens must be compelled to submit to the general will, Rousseau offers a form of government that stifles individual liberty and allows for the tyranny of the majority to prevail. The notion of forcing citizens to be free is a product of Rousseau’s version of the social contract. While Rousseau is more optimistic about the state of nature than Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan, he still recognizes that it may become necessary for men to exit the state of nature and unite under a sovereign. When this time comes, Rousseau contends, men must enter a social contract with one another.
In contrast, Locke is much more in favor of giving the government only some power over its people. Locke also goes into great detail on how this can and should be accomplished, a contrast from Hobbes. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke both argue for two very different types of government — Hobbes an absolute sovereignty, and Locke a much more limited government, outlined with checks and balances. Both men referred to a social contract between that of the sovereign and the people, in which the people agree amongst themselves to relinquish some of their freedoms for the security and safety of having a government. The key differences in the
By forming a social contract, there arises a need for an outside force who must be there to enforce these rules, otherwise any fault would eventually lead those who agreed to the covenant back to a state of war. An all-powerful ruler is appointed in order to ensure the preservation of those in the covenant, which Hobbes called the Leviathan. Born outside of the covenant, this sovereign will keep the people from destroying one another by imposing supreme rule. This meant that the people would surrender ALL their rights to the sovereign, effectively imposing an absolutist rule. But how can they make sure that the sovereign is impartial to everyone?
While Hobbes believed that the Government was to rule on it’s own and owed no answers or consent by the people. Moreover Locke believed that the purpose of the government was to protect the property and freedom of its people, while Hobbes believed that the governments role was to tell them what to do. But arguably the biggest difference between the philosophies is the notion of government accountability. Hobbes believed that the government had free reign to do what they please with no backlash, while Locke believed that if the social contract was broken then the people of the community had the right to revolt and over throw the government. To further this point Locke unlike Hobbes believed that leaders should
Rousseau and Totalitarianism Rousseau clearly promotes totalitarianism in The Social Contract, and hints at it in a few passages from his Second Discourse. He desperately attempts to lay down a form of government that eliminates any chance for the people to be victims. Rousseau specifically shows us the faults in the other types of government and tries to prevent them in his ideas. He wants to create a political situation where people have as much sovereignty as possible. In order to reduce the chance of victimhood among the peoples there must be equality between them all.
From John Locke to Thomas Hobbes each Enlightenment thinker had a different perspective on how the world should work, but each one believed that humans should be given more and should be treated better. The Enlightenment Thinkers believed that in order to rule country, you had to get consent from the people. When a government is selected without the people’s input it is wrong. The whole point of the government for them to look over and keep watch their citizens. Before then, all the kings were “appointed” by God without question.