Hobbes Locke Montesquieu And Rousseau On Government essay

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), wrote Leviathan , a defense of the absolute power of kings. The title of the book referred to a leviathan, a mythology social, wholesale sea monster that devoured whole ships. Hobbes likened the leviathan an to government, a powerful state created to impose order. Hobbes began by describing the “state of nature” where all individuals were naturally equal. Every person was free to do what he or she needed to do to s arrive. As a result, everyone suffered from “continued fear and danger violent death; and the life of man [was) solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. ”

In the state of nature, there were no laws or anyone to enforce them. The only y way out of this situation, Hobbes said, was for individuals to create some supreme pop wert impose peace on everyone. Hobbes borrowed a concept from English contract law: an implied agreement . Hobbes asserted that the people agreed among themselves to “lay down” their natural I rights of equality and freedom and give absolute power to a sovereign. The sovereign, created by the people, might be a person or a group. The sovereign would make and enforce the laws to secure a peaceful society, making life, liberty, and property possible e.

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Hobbes called this agreement the “social contract. ” Hobbes believed that a government headed by a king was the best form that t he sovereign could take. Placing all power in the hands of a king would mean MO resolute and consistent exercise of political authority, Hobbes argued. Hobby s also maintained that the social contract was an agreement only among the people and not between them and their king. Once the people had given absolute power to t he king, they had no right to revolt against him. Hobbes warned against the church meddling with the kings government.

He f eared religion could become a source of civil war. Thus, he advised that the church b come a department of the kings government, which would closely control all religious affairs. In any conflict be;men divine and royal law, Hobbes wrote, the individual should d Obey the king or choose death. But the days of absolute kings were numbered. A new age with fresh ideas WA s emerging-”the European Enlightenment Enlightenment thinkers wanted to improve human conditions on earth rather than concern themselves with religion and the afterlife.

These thinkers valued areas science, religious tolerance, and what they called “natural rights”-”life, liberty, and property. Enlightenment philosophers John Locke, Charles Nonentities, and Jaundice Rousseau all developed theories of government in which some or even all the people would govern. These thinkers had a profound effect on the American and Free inch revolutions and the democratic governments that they produced. John Locke (1632-1704) was born shortly before the English Civil War. Locke studied science and medicine at Oxford University and became a professor there.

He sided with the Protestant Parliament against the Roman Catholic Kingmaker II in the Glow rigorous Revolution of 1685. This event reduced the power of the king and made Partial .NET the major authority in English government. In 1 690, Locke published his Two Treatises of Government . He generally agreed with Hobbes about the brutality of the state of nature, which required a social count react to assure peace. But he disagreed with Hobbes on two major points. First, Locke argued that natural rights such as life, liberty, and property exist d in the state of nature and could never be taken away or even voluntarily given up by individuals.

These rights were “inalienable” (impossible to surrender). Locke al disagreed with Hobbes about the social contract. For him, it was not just an a agreement mongo the people, but between them and the sovereign (preferably a king). According to Locke, the natural rights of individuals limited the power of the k inning. The king did not hold absolute power, as Hobbes had said, but acted only to enforce CE and protect the natural rights of the people. If a sovereign violated these rights, the e social contract was broken, and the people had the right to revolt and establish a nee w government.

Less than 100 years after Locke wrote his Thomas Jefferson used his theory in writing the Declaration of Independence Although Locke spoke out for freedom of thought, speech, and religion, he be lived repertory to be the most important natural right. He declared that owners ma y do whatever they want with their property as long as they do not invade the right s of others. Government, he said, was mainly necessary to promote the “public good,” that t is to protect property and encourage commerce and little else. “Govern lightly,” Lo eke said.

Locke favored a representative government such as the English Parliament, w which had a hereditary House of Lords and an elected House of Commons. But he want deed representatives to be only men of property and business. Consequently, only adult male property owners should have the right to vote. Locke was reluctant to allow the property’s masses of people to participate in government because he belie Veda that they were unfit. The supreme authority of government, Locke said, should reside in the lawman king legislature, like England’s Parliament.

The executive (prime minister) and court TTS would be creations of the legislature and under its authority. When Charles Nonentities (1 689-”1 755) was born, France was ruled by an absolute king, Louis XIV. Nonentities was born into a noble family and educated in the e law. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, including England, where he studied the Parliament. In 1 722, he wrote a book, ridiculing the reign of Louis XIV and the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Nonentities published his greatest work, The Spirit of the Laws , in 1748. Unlike Hobbes and Locke, Nonentities believed that in the state of nature individual Is were so fearful that they avoided violence and war. The need for food, Nonentities s caused the timid humans to associate with others and seek to live in a society . “As soon as man enters into a state of society,” Nonentities wrote, “he loses the sense of his weakness, equality ceases, and then commences the state of war. Nonentities did not describe a social contract as such. But he said that the SST ate of war among individuals and nations led to human laws and government.

Nonentities wrote that the main purpose of government is to maintain law a ND order, political liberty, and the property of the individual. Nonentities opposed the absolute monarchy of his home country and favored the English system as the best MO del Of government. Nonentities somewhat misinterpreted how political power was actually exert cased in England. When he wrote , power was concentrated pretty much in Parliament, the national legislature. Nonentities thought he saw a separation n and balancing of the powers of government in England.

Nonentities viewed the English king as exercising executive power balanced by the lawmaking Parliament, which was itself divided into the House Of Lords and t he House of Commons, each checking the other. Then, the executive and legislative bra inches were still further balanced by an independent court system. Nonentities concluded that the best form of government was one in which t legislative, executive, and judicial powers were separate and kept each other I n check to prevent any branch from becoming too powerful. He believed that uniting t Hess powers, as in the monarchy of Louis XIV, would lead to despotism.

While Moon disquiet’s separation of powers theory did not accurately describe the government of E England, Americans later adopted it as the foundation of the U. S. Constitution Jaundices Rousseau (1 712-1778) was born in Geneva, Switzerland, where all adult male citizens could vote for a representative government. Rousseau trap veiled in France and Italy, educating himself. In 1 751, he won an essay contest. His fresh view that man was naturally good and was corrupted by society made him a celebrity in the French salons where artists, scientists, and writers gathered to discuss the latest ideas.

A few years later he published another essay in which he described savages in a state of nature as free, equal, peaceful, and happy. When people began to claim owe ownership of property, Rousseau argued, inequality, murder, and war resulted. According to Rousseau, the powerful rich stole the land belonging to everyone e and fooled the common people into accepting them as rulers. Rousseau conclude d that the social contract was not a willing agreement, as Hobbes, Locke, and Monuments e had believed, but a fraud against the people committed by the rich.

In 1 762, Rousseau published his most important work on political theory, The social Contract . His opening line is still striking today: “Man is born free, and everywhere he in chains. ” Rousseau agreed with Locke that the individual should never be of raced to give up his or her natural rights to a king. The problem in the state of nature, Rousseau said, was to find a way to protect everyone’s life, liberty, and property while each person remained free.