Liberalism In America's Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes

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Since 1776, the United States of America has praised itself on its installment of a new kind of government, a representative democracy. The U.S. was built on the promises of natural rights for everyone and a tolerance of diversity, including religion. Thomas Hobbes, one of the founders of modern liberalism, opened the door for today’s democratic governments. In Hobbes’ Leviathan, he states that the natural state of humans, or state of nature, is a fearful, anarchic place. To leave this dark depiction of the state of nature, humans must enter into a social contract with an absolute sovereign. Hobbes believes that the sovereign must have absolute power over the lives of their people in order for their society to work. However, he also believes that humans must give up their natural rights and individualism in order gain the security that the absolute power of the sovereign offers. Hobbes’ liberalist ideals concerning absolute sovereignty is given to an assembly of people, the natural right of individuals, and tolerance of private religious diversity are the beginnings of the United States’ democratic government, however, Hobbes is…show more content…
He calls this the right of nature, which is the preservation of self. Hobbes explains that “the right of nature…is the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life; and consequently, of doing anything which, in his own judgement and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto” (79). In the state of nature, there is only one natural right, the preservation of self. However, Hobbes encourages people to abandon this natural right to instead enter into civil society. Once in civil society, civil rights can be installed in place of the right of nature, however, these are not believed to be natural rights, as the sovereign instills them and can take them away as he
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