Comparing John Locke and Thomas Hobbes Essay

Comparing John Locke and Thomas Hobbes Essay

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The formation of government is one of the central themes for both Hobbes and Locke. Whether or not men naturally form a government, or must form a government, is based on man’s basic nature. According to Hobbes, a government must be formed to preserve life and prevent loss of property. According to Locke, a government arises to protect life and property. Governments are born of inequality and formed to administer equality.

Hobbes goes into a lot of detail concerning man’s interactions with one another including ways in which man can seek to live "together in Peace, and Unity" (page 69). However, Hobbes focuses on the interactions of man seeking the same goal. In any system of limited resources, "Competition of Riches, Honour, Command, or other power enclineth to Contention, Enmity, and War: Because the way of one Competitor, to attaining of his desire, is to kill, subdue, supplant, or repell the other" (page 70).

	Hobbes also deals with the qualities which man possess, and how they affect a man’s basic nature. Man who is charismatic leads others to confide in him. Charisma combined with military ability causes men to follow others as leaders. Those who think of themselves as leaders, the "Men that have a strong opinion of their own wisdome in matter of government, are disposed to Ambition" (page 72).

	According to Hobbes "Nature hath made men so equall, in the faculties of body, and mind; as that though there bee found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind then another; yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man, and man, is not so considerable" (page 86-87). Furthermore man tend to see himself as wisest in matters, whether or not others may do things better, and that there is no great sign of equal distribution, "than that every man is contended with his share" (page 87).

Hobbes and Locke consider the formation of government from man’s own nature, whether or not government is formed because man is a social animal or if government is formed to preserve society. According to Locke, man must not "think that all government in the world is the product only of force and violence, and that men live together by no other rules but that of beasts" (page 1). "To understand political powe...


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...bes compares the laws of nature versus human law by defining the laws of nature as those things that are fundamentally part of us and dictate our behavior and actions when there is no human law to do so. Human laws are imposed by men who recognize their own natures and freely give up some of their rights so that others will do the same. Any stable society of civilized men must come to this point, or fall into destruction from within.

As for Locke’s state of "perfect equality", "all men are naturally in that state, and remain so, till by their own consents they make themselves members of some political society" (page 10). When that happens, men give up some of their free rights for others of protection and guarantees of safety and property, and thus a government is born.

In conclusion, although a government should protect life and prevent loss of property, these protections are not guaranteed. Competition and crime is still a problem even though a government exists. Even today, throughout the world, inequalities still exist. Although governments exist there is still no guarantee of equality or that every life and all property will be protected.

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Comparing John Locke and Thomas Hobbes Essay

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