Thomas Hobbes Absolute Monarchy

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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. Firstly, an absolute monarchy as proposed by Hobbes would require that people relinquish their own rights and to submit to one absolute power, which Locke feels is counterintuitive his understand of humans in the state of nature. A distinctive feature of Locke’s state of nature is perfect freedom for people to carry out their own wills without hindrance. Hence, Locke’s main critique of Hobbes’ absolutism is that people living under a Hobbesian

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