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Thomas Hobbes vs. John Locke

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Sam Bee

on 16 March 2015

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Transcript of Thomas Hobbes vs. John Locke

Thomas Hobbes vs. John Locke
Two Treatises of Governmen
t in 1689
Defense of Constitutionalism
People have natural rights that need protecting
John Locke
The original state of mankind is called the "state of nature"
Government is formed by social contract, not divine right
Major Similarities
Hobbes: Government is to protect us from ourselves
Locke: Government is to preserve our natural rights

Hobbes: The ruler has all power
Locke: Sovereignty resides with the people

Hobbes: The government's power is unlimited
Locke: The government's power is restricted by law

Hobbes: People may not revolt or try to change the government
Locke: People have the right to revolution if the government doesn't protect their rights
Major Differences
By Samantha Broadfoot
Thomas Hobbes
Supporter of Philosophical Absolutism
Human's natural state was a "State of War"
Believed that an absolute ruler was necessary to keep people in line (protect people from themselves)
Written by Hobbes in 1588
Refers to a powerful Biblical sea monster
"Lay thine hand upon him, Remember the Battle, but do no more." (Job 41)
A ruler should be powerful enough to be beyond challenge - just as the Leviathan
He believed that the Leviathan represented the sort of ruler that people needed
"bellum omnium contra omnes" "War of all against all"
In the absence of an absolute ruler, we would all kill each other
Context: Why?
Hobbes wrote
in the midst of the English Civil War
Saw the absolute government in England break down, which lead to a long civil war
King beheaded, end of civil government
Led to him thinking that the only way to keep people from killing each other would be through a ruler with absolute power and who could not be challenged
Natural Rights
People have 3 natural rights: life, liberty, and property
Difficult to protect natural rights in the state of nature
People become involved in a social contract to preserve their natural rights as much as they can
People can overthrow government if they aren't doing their job
Much of Locke's work was later used as inspiration for the Declaration of Independence
Context: Why?
Two Treatises of Government
during the Glorious Revolution
Not a very bloody revolution with minimal fighting
More evidence to support his claim that people create government to protect their natural rights, and can overthrow the government if needed.
Annotated Bibliography
Jackson J. Spielvogel, Dinah Zike.
Glencoe World History
. (USA: The McGraw-Hill Companies), 472-477.
I used the textbook for the basis of my information between the two writers. I trust it as a source because we use it at school.
Tom Richey. "Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: Two Philosophers Compared" Youtube. Flash video. youtube.com/watch?v=N2LVcu01QEU
This video went into more depth of what I had already learned from the textbook and provided historical context as well. The author is a teacher and provides videos for many different history topics.
Vartan Messier, The Natural Right to Absolute Freedom. 2015.
I used this article to find out more about how people reacted to the two authors. I found it using the library databases
Full transcript