Essay on Thomas Hobbes And The Hobbesian Social Contract

Essay on Thomas Hobbes And The Hobbesian Social Contract

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A John Locke Response to the Hobbesian Social Contract
In recent times, I have read Thomas Hobbes ' proposal of what he deems a fair and secure social contract. In leaving the uncertain, insecure State of Nature, both Thomas Hobbes and myself have developed two forms of life beyond this state, in which, we may give up some liberties in order to maintain security and assurance. To what one may surrender their rights granted in the State of Nature, would be a governed society ruled by one of many forms of government through acceptance of the social contract by the subjects of that society. As theorists, we have provided our own versions of the contract which have many differences as far as: the purpose of a government, where sovereignty lies, limits on governmental power, and the dissolution of that power. Where Hobbes is mistaken in his terms, I shall counter with my own terms to show how society is better defined under a contract with a more constitutional, limited government.
Before I refute his erroneous view of sensible conditions of the social contract, it is necessary to begin with the purpose of this contract and where his argument, ultimately, begins. Hobbes ' view of the state of nature, "during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe," is a time of war "and such a war as is of every man against every man". In this war, Hobbes finds it is a condition where war is permissible for the sake of survival for the individual, and murdering one another is essential to maintain this survival. It is in his Leviathan where his laws of nature describe the premise of this war between all individuals. It is the first law, of which, men ought to seek peace, and, secondly, defend themselves in order to maint...

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...ommonwealth, by means of a social contract. However, Hobbes seems to believe we have come to this because powerful government- similar in nature to the dominant Leviathan who is incapable of defeat- would protect us from our natural selves. However, government secures our natural rights by upholding natural laws and executes power as it is originally agreed upon by the subjects of the covenant. It is too much of a risk to place civil rights and liberties in the hands of one ruler who is not held to the standards of the government, but gains an indefinite amount of power from it. Nor is it expedient to give such power to a government who requires strict obedience. For if government is limited in power by upholding to the powers designed by the covenant, the legislature will not forfeit the obedience of the people and will, therefore, maintain a prosperous government.

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