Essay on John Locke, Rousseau, And Napoleon

Essay on John Locke, Rousseau, And Napoleon

Length: 1289 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 ...

... middle of paper ...

...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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay Napoleon As An Enlightened Ruler

- ... He also was committed to the Enlightenment support of reason and logic, and its distaste for superstition and myth. The Enlightenment came about in part in reaction to religious wars, but it was also influenced by Europe 's increased exposure to world cultures. Of course it was also a philosophical movement, and thinkers like Hobbes and Locke were important political thinkers who had an impact on the conflicting ideologies during the French Revolution and Napoleon 's rise to power. Napoleon had many views that reflected Enlightenment ideas and values....   [tags: Age of Enlightenment, Voltaire]

Better Essays
963 words (2.8 pages)

Rousseau, Hobbes, and Locke : Interpretations of Human Nature Essay

- Through time people have always wondered what it is that makes us who we are. It has been our human nature that has kept us intrigued with ourselves, and our relationships with others. With this curiosity came various interpretations as to our human nature, each changing the way we see the societal world we live in. With each interpretation came a new understanding of people and the relationship they hold with each other. Human nature has been one of the most studied elements of the world we live in....   [tags: Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke]

Better Essays
1594 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on Comparing Locke´s Natural Law with Rousseau´s Discourse on Inequality

-   The relationship between nature, the state and individuals is a complex one; political philosophers have been studying these relationships ever since the dawn of time, with the goal being to determine the best way in which the people relate to nature. Based on the ideas of philosopher John Locke, the state does not have the ability to infringe upon the right of people to determine their own destiny; he believes that mankind’s best state is to bring the best parts of their natural instincts into society, collecting together into a “state of perfect freedom.” Conversely, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that mankind was at its best in its natural state, behaving like an animal and...   [tags: John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

Better Essays
2789 words (8 pages)

John Locke And Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay

- In The Social Contract philosophers John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau discuss their differences on human beings’ place of freedom in political societies. Locke’s theory is when human beings enter society we tend to give up our natural freedom, whereas Rousseau believes we gain civil freedom when entering society. Even in modern times we must give up our natural freedom in order to enforce protection from those who are immoral and unjust. In The Social Contract, John Locke explains his social contract theory....   [tags: Political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

Better Essays
1750 words (5 pages)

Locke And Rousseau On The State Of Nature Essay

- Locke and Rousseau both discuss the topic of state of nature. They both agree that self-preservation is a fundamental rule in the state of nature. Locke says “Everyone, as he is bound to preserve himself…ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind” (§6) and Rousseau likewise states that one fundamental principle is “our well-being and our self-preservation” (14). They both agree that man has a genuine concern and care for humanity. Although they share this idea, the two are utterly different....   [tags: State of nature, Political philosophy, John Locke]

Better Essays
1100 words (3.1 pages)

On the Virtues of Private Property in Locke and Rousseau Essay

- On the Virtues of Private Property in Locke and Rousseau John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, following their predecessor Thomas Hobbes, both attempt to explain the development and dissolution of society and government. They begin, as Hobbes did, by defining the “state of nature”—a time before man found rational thought. In the Second Treatise[1] and the Discourse on Inequality[2], Locke and Rousseau, respectively, put forward very interesting and different accounts of the state of nature and the evolution of man, but the most astonishing difference between the two is their conceptions of property....   [tags: Locke Rousseau Philosophical Essays]

Better Essays
2220 words (6.3 pages)

John Locke And The Civil Rights Essay

- John Locke believed in limited government. He said that government should be like a contract and people can overthrow the government if the government abuses his or her position. He also believed that people have the individual rights to be heard. He mentioned that people are born with freedom. Everyone, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, age etc. have the same rights as everyone else. I think John Locke would support Norman Rockwell’s painting, because the white soldiers seems to be protecting a young colored girl holding notebooks and a ruler which, I think, symbolizes the protection of education for different races....   [tags: Political philosophy, John Locke]

Better Essays
1064 words (3 pages)

Jean Jacques Rousseau And John Locke Essay

- ... This transition requires individuals to give up their natural rights, which entail free will, in exchange for acceptance in the body politic. Once one has consented to join the civil society, they are obligated to follow the fundamental laws of government. Rousseau’s social contract theory contains fundamental laws that require, or obligate, people to be part of the general will and comprise the sovereign. In Rousseau’s work, there are certain limits the sovereign power has, and if these limits are reached, individuals are no longer required to follow the law “…because it then turns into a particular affair, and its power is no longer competent” (56)....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract]

Better Essays
1306 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on John Locke And The Social Contract Theory

- The Social Contract Theory is the concept that in the beginning, people lived in the state of nature. This means that they had no government and there were no laws to dictate their lives. Thomas Hobbes (The Leviathan), John Locke (Second Treatise of Government), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Social Contract) discusses what they believe the Social Contract Theory. Each philosopher has different views depending on their understandings of human nature, the nature of the contract, the legitimate powers of the government, and the obligations of the citizens and political authority....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract, John Locke]

Better Essays
1522 words (4.3 pages)

John Locke And The Liberal Thinkers Essay

- Throughout history, man has sought after the preservation of his natural rights. The idea of protecting these rights has put many political thinkers into conversation with one another, opening the door to a plethora of ideas and critiques on these important ideas. Liberal contract theorists, such as John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Adam Smith, are seen as committed to the protection of individual rights above all other powers. On the other hand, many critics such as, Karl Marx, Carole Pateman, and Charles Mills, address foundational issues that the liberal theorists omit....   [tags: Political philosophy, Democracy, John Locke]

Better Essays
2259 words (6.5 pages)