Thomas Hobbes Vs John Locke Essay

763 Words4 Pages
THOMAS HOBBES VS. JOHN LOCKE By: Adam Pasternak Date: April 7, 2014 Thomas Hobbes vs. John Locke Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704) were both prominent philosophers during the 17th Century. They were both known as natural law theorists and social contract theorists. Hobbes is widely known for his writing of the “Leviathan” and John Locke is famous for his writing of the book, “Two Treatises of Government.” Both men wrote about natural law, positive law, and social contract. Positive Law is “statutory man-made law, as compared to "natural law" which is purportedly based on universally accepted moral principles, "God's law," and/or derived from nature and reason.” ( Although Hobbes’ and Locke shared some ideas, overall their conclusions were different. In general, Hobbes believed that man is evil, whereas Locke believed that man is inherently good. This in turn led to their differences in their theories of positive law and social contract. Locke’s view is more consistent with our present state of government in most places around the world today. The basis of natural law is that people are born with basic rights such as sovereignty, liberty and property. These rights are resulting from the ability of man to use their morals, logic and reason. Natural law starts with the idea that our rights come from God or nature. These rights are endangered by the development of positive law. Positive law can be seen as the opposite of natural law. With positive law, the government has the power to decide what is legal and what is not. ( With respect to natural ... ... middle of paper ... ... prominent in Europe during this period. Hobbes felt that this was the only type of government that would that would assure peace. One authority or power would set the laws and everyone in turn would follow them. John Locke believed in constitutionalism, which is defined as, “a government in which power is distributed and limited by a system of laws that must be obeyed by the rulers.” ( He believed that In conclusion, both Hobbes and Locke theories were influential in politics. They both examined the “state of nature” of man without any government and that in this state that all men are equal. They also both believed that this created risk. Hobbes has a much more pessimistic view than Locke. (

More about Thomas Hobbes Vs John Locke Essay

Open Document