Hobbes and Locke Essay

Both Hobbes and Locke wrote their political theories in the 17th century, and there are similarities between their works. They both believe that men enter a contract in order to improve their lives; however there are also important differences between their theories. Hobbes believed that without a sovereign there can only be chaos, which leads him to conclude that men should give up their rights to an absolute sovereign. Lock, on the other hand, wrote that there was some arrangement of order before a sovereign was established. He believed that sovereign was primarily put in place for protecting property. This essay shall outline Hobbes and Lockes theories and clarify their similarities and differences.

To understand Hobbes's theory of contract we must first understand his concept of the individual. Hobbes said that "man is nothing more than matter", and he compared society to the universe. He thought that the actions and impacts of men moved like the planets in the universe. This suggests that people do not have control over their own actions, which could explain why Hobbes believed that good and evil were nothing more than terms which humans frequently used to describe things they liked and disliked.

Hobbes believed that everyone is equal in mind more than body (at the time of his writing people had poor nutrition and little or no education, it would have been difficult to tell whether or not people are born equal). He thought that the minds of individuals are more or less the same and that they are interested in similar things. Hobbes also believed that people only do things in an act of selfishness, this means even when it appears that a person is doing something for the good of somebody else, they are actually gaining something from it for their own interests.

People want to be happy. For most people it seems that material goods could make them content. This leads to competition as people tend to want the same things; it can then cause disruption and violence as people want what others have.
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"From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends. And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their end, (which is principally their owne conservation, and sometimes their delectation only) endeavour to destroy, or subdue one another." (Hobbes, Leviathan, 184)

Hobbes thought that man would attack others to gain a reputation of power, so he could use that power later on in life to get what he wanted. People would live in fear as there ...

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