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Thomas Hobbes And John Locke: Contribution To Communal Structure

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Contribution to Communal Structure The Enlightenment in the Eighteenth century was an era that emphasized individual freedom and autonomy. Two important thinkers, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, contributed to ideas about constructing a community at the end of the Scientific Revolution in the Seventeenth century that is made up of individuals. Hobbes composed an essay entitled, Leviathan, published in 1651, that addresses the negativity of human nature, and the movement towards governing through an absolute ruler. Locke’s essay Of Civil Government, published in 1690, portrays human nature as inherently good and equal, and devises a government that promotes these human rights of every individual. A community is made of individuals, therefore…show more content…
Locke expressed the ideal that men are created equal and nevertheless men will flourish with independence and freedom, “no one having more than another” (Locke 101). In this way, Locke believes that an individual should have the capability to find happiness through equality and human freedoms. Even with these naturally positive and good qualities, Locke believes that there are potential for bad tendencies within man. With this possibility for negative attributes, a government is essential to protect them from themselves and to guarantee that equality will prosper. He introduces the main ideas that govern a community, “Life, Liberty and Property” (Locke 101). These are the freedoms that every individual within the community should have, and the government should follow these rights because mankind is naturally good. Hobbes opposes this view and believes that men are naturally immoral and base actions on personal desires rather than the greater good. Hobbes expresses, “So that in the nature of man we find three principal causes of quarrel: first, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory” (Hobbes 99). These three principles are the reasons for confrontation, and they are also inevitable. Men act on their desires for wealth and power and also create enemies. In his work Leviathan Hobbes explains that “from [man’s] equality of ability arises equality of hope in the attaining of…show more content…
Locke’s belief in “consent” by the people creates a democratic structure of community. In this way, the community is merely created to protect the rights and the property of the people. His idealistic government would have the power controlled by those who are being ruled, the people. Locke explains that we must “make one body politic, wherein the majority have a right to act and conclude the rest” (Locke 101).The government is a reflection of the “majority” of the community, and will represent the wishes of the people. The power is held by those who are being ruled, and they have equal rights in deciding their political outcomes. Locke explains that “wherever law ends, tyranny begins”, so once the rights of the people are suppressed this injustice begins (Locke 102). Locke also explains that if a government was to act unjust, not with the best interest of the majority, then it is the right and the responsibility of the people to overthrow “tyranny” (Locke 102). The people, who have the power, should always defend their human rights, especially from unlawful rulers. This view of government shifts with Hobbes’ perspective. Hobbes believes that one man should rule the community, and therefore the government should have power in the ruler rather than the people being ruled. This single ruler will be educated about the corrupt nature of mankind and the bad nature of
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