When the United States was being founded, the men charged with the creation of this novel system of government drew inspiration from a number of well-known English political philosophers. One of the most overt influences, not merely on the Constitution, but even the Declaration of Independence, was John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. His depiction of both the State of Nature and its transition into civil society served as the mirror to the American notion and understanding of the purposes of government. Another less discussed but no less intrinsic influence on the founding document came from Thomas Hobbes in his work, Leviathan. Hobbes’ depiction of the role of the sovereign presented a subtle but distinct understanding in the formation
One his theories, stated in his book called Leviathan said that people are not able rule themselves because of how selfish mankind is and they need to be ruled by an iron fist. His political theory was that was also stated in Leviathan was that we should respect government authority under all circumstances to avoid violence. Hobbes was scared of the outcome of the social contract which meant people could get rid of the government if they were unhappy with what they were getting. In order to make well with the social contract he states in Leviathan that people should be completely obedient to the government. His reasoning was that if there was no government, there would be chaos. Some of Hobbes’ beliefs were even stated in the Declaration of Independence. For instance, his belief that people should give up their rights that lead toward violence, his wanted a government that would allow people to live in peace, and that the government should prevent violence and
The ideas of the Enlightenment influenced the American Revolution and the formation of the American Government. Firstly, The Enlightenment was a philosophical evolution that emphasized the aged ideas of the Greeks and Romans. In addition, the major philosophers of this time period were Voltaire, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Rousseau, Adam Smith and Isaac Newton. Their ideals include having an absolute monarch as a government (T.H), the separation of powers (Mont.), the government should not interfere with a free market economy (A.S), the freedom of speech (Volt.), the government could be overruled (J.L), and the government should rule according to the will of the people. Nevertheless, these ideals are important because they shaped the government that we have today. Therefore, these ideals massively aroused the
According to Rousseau, the best form of government is a direct democracy (Robison), but since Ralph fails to establish this form of government, the result is the boys falling into corruption and total chaos. Rousseau believes that civil society causes humans to become corrupt. His philosophy is centered upon the idea of “the general will,” which reflects society’s interest in a common good (Younkins). But individual desires can conflict with the general will, and civil society can actually damage the desire for a common good (Bertram). The general will in Lord of the Flies is the need to build shelters, establish a civilization, and most importantly keep the fire going with the ultimate purpose of rescue. However, the boys stop caring about these goals and Ralph is not able to unite them.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) theory of social contract, which states that we need moral, legal rules because we want to escape the state of nature which is solitary, poor, brutal, nasty, and short. In this state, a man can kill others, and there are limited resources. This can soon lead to a state of war in which we are constantly disposed to harm others to achieve our goals. So, in this state of war if a person was to possess a beautiful house or property, and had all the comforts, luxuries, and amenities to lead a wonderful life; others could come and harm him and deprive him of his fruit of labor, life, and liberty. Therefore, the state of nature is that of fear, violence, and distrust. There is only constant fear of violence and death, and hence the life of man will be solitary, poor, brutal, nasty, and short as Hobbes mentions.
From the late 1500’s to the late 1700’s, the Enlightenment period occurred. Thinkers and philosophers across Europe created ideas that changed the way people thought. For example, John Locke thought of the idea that everyone had natural rights. These rights consisted of the right to life, liberty, and property. Voltaire had the idea that the power lies in the hands of the people and their elected government. Benjamin Franklin, who had a great influence on the new government in the Americas as he told the ideas of government structure that he thought was better. Without these three people and their thoughts, the world wouldn't be the way it is today.
Edmund Burke, after a visit to France in 1773, wrote a pamphlet titled Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) to express his disdain for the events and methods of the French Revolution. Where other political writers of the Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment Eras propose theories of politics and government, Burke does not promote a theory, a set of premises, a call to action, or even a succinct conclusion. He rather details his disposition of contractual government and politic science. He believes that the human condition, the traditions, experiences, and knowledge acquired by humans, is far to complex to be described by science and therefore avoids he commonly held views of political science from the Enlightenment Era. However, Thomas Hobbes, as he writes in Leviathan (1651) believed that all political phenomenons could be reported systematically as he equated all humans to machines, predictable by consistently acting in their self interest. [PG 3] Burke’s criticism that can be applied to Hobbes lies on three fronts; that the understanding human condition cannot be derived through logic; that consent, explicit or tacit, does not exist after the first social contract; and that a rebellion is neither possible nor effective when in a social contract.
Political theorists, whether they are realists, or liberalists, over the centuries, have come into conflict over what they believe to be the utmost important task of the state. Hobbes believes the most important task of the state is to ensure law and order, rooting his argument in the idea of a sovereign ruler. On the other hand, Rawls, a modern theorist, firmly believes that a state should focus on realising justice within their society. While a utopian society cannot be achieved by either of these theories, I will highlight why Rawls was right in his assumption that the main focus of a state should be to ensure justice for all within their nation, through analysing and comparing the conflicting arguments of Hobbes and Rawls.
The Enlightenment era was around the 18th century. A time where many different philosophers imputed many of their own thoughts and beliefs on religion, human rights, the government and other important situations involving our country today. Many figures associated with the Enlightenment were, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Baron Montesquieu, and Beccaria, to name a few.
When comparing the two different accounts of English philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke we must take into consideration a number of things such as the age in which they lived and the time in which they produced their philosophical writings. We will however find out that these two philosophers actually have a couple of things in which agree on even though most of their opinions clash. On one side we have Thomas Hobbes who lived in the time of the English Civil War (1642-1651) who provides a negative framework for his philosophical opinions in his masterpiece Leviathan and who advocates for philosophical absolutism . On the other side we have John Locke, living during the glorious revolution (1688-1689) he presents a positive attitude in his book The Second Treatise of Government and advocates for philosophical and biblical constitutionalism.
In Thomas Hobbes’s words, the life of man is, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” He does not hold a high opinion of man’s ability to enjoy life or at least go through it with endurance and perseverance. On the other hand, John Locke had more confidence in human nature. He believed that morality could be approached rather like numbers: obviously and easily. Everyone would know what good meant, just as everyone would know what five or ten meant. The balance of pleasure, or good, should offset the weight of pain, or bad. Even though humans may not be perfectly moral all the time, they could still know the natural moral laws and live by them. Hobbes disagreed. He spoke of the "war of all against all" rather a happy, peaceful society. Hobbes 's view on government was also different than Locke
The Age of Enlightenment occurred during the 17th and 18th centuries. This time period is often referred to as, “The Age of Reason,” because there were many realizations of how political and social structures should be set up. The age was most pronounced in the continent of Europe with the writings of many philosophers, such as Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, and Rousseau. The cause of the Enlightenment was Francis Bacon and René Descartes began doubting the normal standard of philosophy. Their curiosity led to many other philosophers to began questioning the traditional ways of belief. Enlightenment ideas influenced the establishment of the United States by our founding fathers taking Locke and Montesquieu’s ideas, of human equality, freedom, and separation of powers and putting them to use. Our nation’s beliefs are based on the Enlightenment views that Locke and Montesquieu created. The Age of Enlightenment was the
The anarchist’s challenge states that there is no explicit need for governmental organization and the social contract is limiting individuals from reaching pure freedom. Anarchy literally translates to “without government.” Theorists like William Godwin and Max Striner argued that the individual is sovereign. Their emphasis is on complete autonomy of the individual, rather than the State of Society; this distinguished them from later anarchist thinkers, such as Michael Bakunin and George Woodcock (Carter, 1971). These Anarchist theorists truly believe that anarchy is the best option for people, and it is only without government that people can be free. Anarchists fundamentally object to the notion of a social contract and promote the freedom of the individual. Hobbes’ social contract theory provides a compelling answer to the anarchist’s challenge through his explanation of the state of nature and his solution being an absolute sovereign; furthermore, this argument is supported with historical examples.
Thomas Hobbes proposed that the ideal government should be an absolute monarchy as a direct result of experiencing the English Civil War, in which there was internal conflict between the parliamentarians and the royalists. Hobbes made this claim under the assumption that an absolute monarchy would produce consistent policies, reduce conflicts and lower the risk of civil wars due to the singular nature of this ruling system. On another hand, John Locke counters this proposal with the view that absolute monarchies are not legitimate as they are inconsistent with the state of nature. These two diametrically opposed views stem from Hobbes’ and Locke’s different understandings of human nature, namely with regard to power relationships, punishment, and equality in the state of nature. Hobbes’ belief that human beings are selfish and appetitive is antithetical with Locke’s contention that human beings are intrinsically moral even in the state of nature, which results in Locke’s strong disagreement with Hobbes’ proposed absolute monarchy.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704) were both political philosophers. They are mainly known for their master pieces on political philosophy. I.e. Hobbes' Leviathan and Locke's Two Treatise of Government. Each of them has different views and perspective of the State of Nature and Social Contract. State of Nature is the condition under which men lived prior to the formation of societies which may be considered as an historical fact or a hypothetical claim" (Steele, 1993). That is, the condition that men lived before the formation of legitimate government. Social contract on the other hand, is the hypothesis that one's moral obligations are dependent upon an implicit agreement between individuals to form a society (Celeste, 2004). Both Hobbes and Locke used social contract as a means of explaining their Ideas on the origin