Hobbes And Locke Social Contract Theory

2287 Words10 Pages
The two critical thinkers, Hobbes and Locke, played a major role in creating the concept of the social contract theory. The general concept of this theory was to see how individuals could survive in a world regulated by laws and government. Hobbes and Locke had different perspectives on the state of nature. Thomas Hobbes’ regarded man as fearful and selfish and that man desired a sense of security and order. If man wanted to have a sense of self-preservation and protection, they needed to enter into a social contract and yield their rights and freedom. In other words, a government was established to regulate people’s lives. Thomas Hobbes also believed that individuals were free to take whatever they wanted, be acquisitive, and resolve conflicts…show more content…
One of the main features of modern democracy is that it is based on the people being governed by voluntary consent. The only way the government has the right to power is that it is given by the people, by their approval (Stanka). According to Locke, the individual is naturally free and only became a political subject out of free choice (Second Treatise of Government). Without the consent of the people there could not be a recognized civil society. Therefore, it is apparent that Locke’s belief in the government by consent forms is the foundation of democracy today (Stanka). Locke also stressed that all men are naturally equal in the State of Nature (Second Treatise of Government), no one had power over the other person. In democracy today, this is an essential function of government, the importance is that every person no matter what their social class is should be treated the same politically by having the same right to vote, having the right to choose the political party that best represents them, and that all votes should be counted equally in value (Stanka). For example, “While writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, drew heavily from the writings of John Locke, and placed them in the Constitution. The social contract theory infuses both these documents (Constitution Society).” Thomas Jefferson personally embraced Locke 's philosophies that people had rights to life, liberty, equality, and pursuit of happiness; the duty of government is to…show more content…
Unlike Hobbes, Locke noted that even with the formation of government, people have the right to have a private life to pursue whatever actives they want to pursue (Stanka). Like what Locke said, every person has natural rights and it is the government`s duty to protect these rights (Second Treatise of Government). Individual rights play an important role for democracy today, that if a state does not protect their citizen`s rights they are automatically labelled as undemocratic. Instead of a sovereign ruler as Hobbes suggested, Locke would instead see the sovereign not as one individual ruler but a sovereign of the people. Locke believed that the government was made up by the people of the society. Similar, to today`s democracy where the government focuses on the people`s happiness since they control who gains authoritative power. Locke’s contribution to the concept of consent, and natural rights are components of modern governments especially in democracy (Stanka). Locke, observed that the need to constitute a civil society was to protect and maintain freedom; moreover, he noted that it lacked an established, settled known law; a known indifferent judge; and an executive to enforce just decisions. Furthermore, Locke argued for the supremacy of the Legislature within the institutions of government. He stated it to be representative and spokesperson of the people. In fact, the legislature is the only one indicated in the social contract. This is still a fundational
Open Document