Contrasting Thomas Hobbes and John Locke

1009 Words5 Pages
Contrasting Hobbes and Locke

Nearly two-hundred and twenty-five years ago the

United States of America chose to fight a Thomas Hobbes

government, with the hope of forming a John Locke

institution. The ideas of these men lead to the

formation of two of the strongest nations in the history

of the world: Great Britain followed by the United

States. Thomas Hobbes viewed the ideal government as an

absolute monarchy, due to the chaos of the state of

nature in contrast, John Locke’s ideal government was a

democracy due to his beliefs of the equality of men.

These men have shared a few of the same beliefs, but

mainly contrast each other.

Thomas Hobbes believed that man by nature is evil.

He however, lived in a time of war and famine, which most

definetly influenced his views. In the state of nature,

Hobbes saw competition,(mainly for material property);

diffidence,(for mans own protection); and glory(for ones

reputation and honor), as the only predicaments capable

of causing quarrels. He saw man’s natural motives

powered by emotions resulting from material possessions;

this puts the state of nature into a state chaos. Hobbes

believed that logically, man would look for a way out of

this chaotic state. A possible solution to this chaos

would be if everyone observed the natural laws of:

justice, equity, modesty, and mercy. In contrast, Hobbes

stated that it would be a laborious task for man to

follow these laws. Hobbes believed that these laws are

contrary to man’s natural passions’, and man would not

willfully obey them unless it is beneficial to himself.

A bond with words alone can not hold a man to keep a

promise, therefore, man needs “the terror of some power

to cause the [laws] to be observ...

... middle of paper ...

...s job to protect the people

although, if the people are not protected due to an

unjust government, then rebellion is justified. Locke

believed the state had a responsibility to the people,

not rights against the people.

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke had great insight into

the ideas of two of the most empowering and successful

governments of all time. Although their ideas contrast,

each provides a strong base for the purposed governments.

Each man realized the importance of moving beyond the

state nature and chaos within it. Partially because of

the ideas of these men, both present and past governments

of the United States and Great Britain have been strong.

The history of this world could greatly differ if these

governments had never formed.


Shiller, Edward M. "Locke and Hobbes." Western Heritage, Vol 38(4): 232-240
Open Document