How Did Thomas Hobbes Influence The Constitution

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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…show more content…
This was especially true in the Second Article. The Hobbesian understanding of executive authority became visible most noticeably in the Vesting Clause. The passage began “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America” (Article II, Section 1). When compared with the other two, the Legislative and Judicial grants of authority, the Vesting Clause reads as incredibly vague and general. There was no true definition given in the text as to what “executive Power” actually entailed and thus opened the door for disputes on the range of presidential authority as time passed in the republic. The powers listed in Article II were not “expressly granted” nor was the wording as stringent as in the case of the First Article with its phrase, “all Legislative Powers herein granted…”(Section 1). By wording the section in this manner, the Framers effectively paved the way for a less shackled executive. If the time came when he had to act quickly in the defense and preservation of the Commonwealth and the public good, the President could proceed virtually unimpeded if there was nothing that prohibited his actions directly stated in the Constitution. He had the consent of the people, and in most cases the mandate, at his

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