Essay on John Locke, Rousseau, And Napoleon

Essay on John Locke, Rousseau, And Napoleon

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John Locke, Rousseau, and Napoleon all have very different views on what would make a good society. Locke uses a democracy/republican type view that many countries still model after today. Locke’s view on a happy society is the most open and kind to its people, out of the three. Rousseau takes the complete opposite stance from Locke in thinking a more dictatorship government would be what is best for society as a whole as what is good for one person is good for one’s society. Napoleon plays by his own rules with telling people he will follow Lockean like views only to really want to be an absolutist government under his own power. However, all of their ideas would work for a given society so long as they had a set of laws in place and citizens that agreed to them.
To understand John Locke’s understanding of freedom and equality one must first look at his ideas in the state of nature. Locke believed men gained natural equality when they left nature and became civilized. Naturally, a government needed to develop in a civilized society to keep everyone on the same page with what is okay to do and what wouldn’t and couldn’t be tolerated in a society. Locke was a social contract theorist, he believed that the goodness of a government relies on the citizens agreeing with what the government is doing, so a level of equality between the two. In Second Treatise on Government John Locke descried the level of power he thought a government should hold and what one should do for its citizens to ensure everyone has a happy society life. He said, “... Political power is that power, which every man having in the state of nature, has given up into the hands of the society, and therein to the governors, whom the society hath set over itself, with ...


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...ommitted by scoundrels incited by our enemies.”(117)
However, as good as Napoleon sounded to start, he was really just too good to be true. The power went to his head and he soon wanted to be an absolutist ruler. He tried to disguise this at first under the mask of having people killed in the name of them not being for the French government.
In conclusion, you have Locke who wanted a society where as many people in it as possible had equal rights, thus equal opportunity to be happy. Rousseau who thought people would be happier with fewer rights and not having to decide anything for themselves, but letting one all powerful ruler do it for them. And finally Napoleon who was a manipulative liar who talked his way into, attempting, to become an all powerful dictator himself. In the end Lockean views have won out in most happy and successful societies in today 's world.

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