Politics: Political Philosophy and John Locke Essay

Submitted By Montevan
Words: 1504
Pages: 7

Hobbes VS. Locke

Political Science 2300
Introduction to political thought
Dr. G. Michael Stathis, Ph.D.
Autumn Semester 2012
Take home essay #3

By, Monte Van Buskirk

In this paper I will discussing contrasts, and similarities between Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke. Their views on popular contract/constitution. And many other different parts of their ideas and thoughts that contrast each other completely. I will compare their ideas on things like human nature, the necessary amount of government, how they both viewed the role of the individual in society, and what they both thought of revolution, and what they thought it should be, and how it should be gone about. Also I will discuss how John Locke can be seen as an honorary founding member of the United States of America. To start out with a little background on both men. Thomas Hobbes was born on April 5th 1588, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, England. He was the son of the vicar of Charlton, and Westport, but his father was thrown out of the town for fighting in front of his own church. So Hobbes and two siblings went to live with a wealthy uncle. At the age of 14 he attended Oxford, and earned his degree in five years time. John Locke was born on August 29th, 1632 in a small thatched cottage by the church in Wrington, Somerset, about twelve miles from Bristol. At the age of 15 he was sent to the prestigious school of Westminster in London. He in time obtained his bachelors degree, and two years later he was also awarded his masters degree. Later he also earned his bachelors degree in medicine which he had studied extensively at Oxford. The “popular contract” is a theory or model, that typically addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their remaining rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory. Both Hobbes and Locke had similar beliefs concerning this theory, but with some very important differences. Hobbes asserted that men consent to abdicate their rights in favor of the absolute authority of government (whether monarchial or parliamentary). While Locke believed that natural rights were completely inalienable and that therefore the rule of God superseded government authority. In almost all other issues that can be brought up in any form of political theory or thoughts, Hobbes and Locke completely disagree with each other. The two men were both born in relatively close proximity of each other in a time period that is also pretty close to each other. They both have backgrounds that include prestigious schools, degrees, and an involvement in the church in some aspects. Some strong cases of the way they disagree can be made in many different issues. First of all the issue of human nature. Thomas Hobbes believed that man was not naturally a social animal, and that the only reason that society existed was because the will of the state. While John Locke was completely on the other side of the spectrum and fully believed that man was a completely social animal naturally without any sort of influence from the state. Through such thoughts as this one on human nature we can see in more detail that Hobbes believed that humans were in nature more violent, and in ways ran more on what seems to be implied as instinct. While John Locke had serious beliefs of human nature that humans most of the time kept their promises, and took care of most of their obligations. He believed that naturally there was always an amount of peace between men. As far as their views on the question of the necessity of government in any state, they also…