John Locke v. Thomas Hobbes Two Theories on Government
State of Nature • DIFFERENCE • Locke: State of relative peace • Hobbes: State of war!
Status of Men in the State of Nature • Similarity: Men are equal in a state of nature • Difference: Men are equal for different reasons • Locke: Men are created equal in eyes of their creator. All have reason. All can universal understanding of natural rights and law • Hobbes: Men are equal because the weakest is capable of killing the strongest and because all men believe they are just as smart as his fellow man which facilitates greed and competition
Men as Rational Creatures? • SIMILARITY • Both men believe men enter into a social compact (create a government) because it is in their self-interest and will advance their condition
Purpose for Government’s Existence • SIMILARITY • Men create government to secure their lives and property • State of nature requires additional regulation - natural law is not enough
HOW Government is Created • SIMILARITY • Men give up the total freedom they have in the state of nature to live under rules • DIFFERENCE • Locke: Men willingly give up SOME of their freedom to the government • Hobbes: Men willingly give up ALL of their freedom to the government
Type of Government Established • DIFFERENCE • Locke: A legislative body containing representatives chosen by the very people who created it • Hobbes: An absolute monarchy or dictatorship
SOURCE of Government’s Authority • SIMILARITY • The people!!!!!!!! • Known as “social contract”
Right to Alter / Abolish Government • DIFFERENCE • Locke: “where law ends, tyranny begins” • If representatives violate laws of nature, they can be overthrown and men will revert to a state of nature • Hobbes: “where no law, no justice” • If you remove the government, men will revert to a state of war - this is not in their self-interest.
Human Nature • DIFFERENCE • Locke: men are intrinsically good (tabla rusa) but flawed • They are capable of restraining these flaws and governing themselves • Hobbes: men are intrinsically evil • Self-aggrandizing creatures require external control
World Views / Life Experiences • DIFFERENCE • Hobbes: exiled from England in 1640s during English Civil War • Witnessed worst of humanity • Locke: Published his work after the “Glorious” or “Bloodless” Revolution (1680s) • Power was transferred from Catholic monarch to a Protestant monarch without violence and a Bill of Rights was established
Who do you agree with? Which author had the greatest impact on American government?