Essay on Hobbes’ Leviathan: A Principality? A Republic? Or Something New?

Essay on Hobbes’ Leviathan: A Principality? A Republic? Or Something New?

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Machiavelli divides all states into principalities and republics, principalities are governed by a solitary figure and republics are ruled by a group of people. With Hobbes’ Leviathan a new model for governing a territory was introduced that can no longer be equally divided into Machiavelli's two state categories. Hobbes combines the concepts for governing principalities and republics into a new type of political thought that is similar to and different from Machiavelli. Hobbes, unlike Machiavelli, is on the side of the people and not the armed prophets. Hobbes believes that the function of society is not just merely living, but to have a safe and comfortable life. He believes that by transferring all rights to a sovereign the threat of the state of nature will be diminished. A sovereign elected will be able to represent and protect everyone equally, they are not a ruler of the people but a representative. The Leviathan differs from a principalities and a republics by establishing the institution of the commonwealth through the social contract.
To understand how the Leviathan differs from either a principalities or a republics, one must look at the principles of each to decipher how Hobbes bears resemblance to and disagrees with Machiavelli. The Leviathan state resembles a principality by giving absolute power to one sovereign. All citizens apart of the Leviathan yield their right to the sovereign. This resembles a principality because the authority of the sovereign is ruled by one person. Hobbes believes that "A kingdom divided in itself cannot stand" (Hobbes, 136), therefore the authority of the government must not be divided and there can only be one sovereign in control.
By granting complete control to the sovereign they...


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...hold absolute power but is equally controlled by the actions of the people as they are considered to be a servant for the people.
Hobbes’ political thought is said to be the foundation for Parliamentary sovereignty in Canada. He believes societies main goal is to provide a safe, functioning life without the constant fear of death. If those in power do not obey the social contract, the commonwealth have the right to create a new social contract so the state of nature does not prevail. The sovereign is entrusted with unlimited power but must always act in a way that protects the people. Laws from the sovereign allow the commonwealth to not constantly fear death. Like a principalities, one sovereignty is allowed ultimate rule. It is similar to a republic in which the ruler has to abide by the will of the people. Hobbes takes both principles and creates the Leviathan.

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