Nobody downloaded yet

Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the Civil Society - Term Paper Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
Name Instructor Class 23 June 2011 Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the “Civil Society” Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and his book Leviathan greatly influenced political thought in the seventeenth century, by arguing for the importance of the “social contract” in achieving peace and civil unity…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER98.8% of users find it useful
Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the Civil Society
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the Civil Society"

Download file to see previous pages Their views are important for international political thought, because they influenced present international political economy theories and helped paved the debate on political ideology, particularly shaping the discourse on the concept of “civil society” and the rise of nation-states vis-a-vis “civil society.” Locke and Hobbes have diverging views on the relationship between the government and civil society, as well as the notions of slavery, sovereignty, direction of international politics, and peace, but they share somewhat similar beliefs in the role of education and the state of nature of humanity. Locke and Hobbes have diverging views on the relationship between the government and civil society. Hobbes believes that Europe has changed as a civil society through the evolution of the social contract. The Commonwealth only exists because of the Covenant between the people and the government or the state. Hobbes says in the Leviathan: “Essence of the Common-wealth; which (to define it) is ‘One Person, of whose Acts a great Multitude, by mutual Covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the Author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their Peace and Common Defense.’” This statement shows that the main goal of the government is to ensure peace and national defense. The covenant or social contract, however, for Hobbes is absolute, where the state incorporates the wills of the individuals; the state is the body and individuals are just parts of it: “The only way to erect such a Common Power” is “to confer all their power and strength upon one Man, or upon one Assembly of men, that may reduce all their Wills, by plurality of voices, unto one Will” (Hobbes). This statement underscores that the social contract binds all individuals. On the one hand, it enforces plurality of wills. On the other hand, it means the precedence of the state over civil society. Locke confirms the same views as Hobbes and argues that Europe also changed because of the need for the social contract. Unlike Hobbes, Locke believes that people take part of social contracts merely to help adjudicate disputes between individuals or groups. He says: “And this is done, where-ever any number of men, in the state of nature, enter into society to make one people, one body politic, under one supreme government…to make laws for him, as the public good of the society shall require…” (Locke, Two Treatises on Government). From here, it is clear that Locke believes that it is the people or civil society that legitimizes the state; while for Hobbes, it is the government that legitimizes the existence of a peaceful civil society. My criticism of Hobbes is that he overlooks that the people make the government. The social contract binds the people, but the people can unbind some laws too in order to make the contract fit their changing needs and issues. I agree more with Locke, who reminds governments of their servitude to the civil society. It does not mean, however, that the civil society will also abuse its rights and fully void the social contract without due justifications. Locke and Hobbes diverge on the notion of sovereignty. Locke argues that civil society precedes the state. For him, it is society that provides the state its essential source of legitimacy. He contends that when the rulers fail to encourage interests, independence, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the Civil Society Term Paper”, n.d.)
Retrieved from
(Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the Civil Society Term Paper)
“Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the Civil Society Term Paper”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the Civil Society

Civil society

...? Civil society Locke was driven by an aspect of equality. He directed his all ideas on the facet of independence. In his scholarly articles, de derived an essence of human being terming that God created them with equal natural rights. Civil society faces challenges while working under a poor government. In this regards, Locke analyses this aspect stating that property of civil rights are based on the labor and nature involved. The work of Locke however, talks about challenges that bring about the state of nature. State of nature is a political philosophy basically used by social contract that describes...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Hobbes and Locke - Philosophy Paper

...Hobbes and Locke - Philosophy Paper In their works, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke explained the nature of power, of nature", and characterized "civil society" underlining the importance of state-church relations. (1) In his most prominent work "Leviathan", Thomas Hobbes explains the concept of the "state of nature". Thomas Hobbes supposed that the "state of nature" is especially evident in the exercise of power. So far as human beings are concerned the acquisition and exercise of power is inevitably connected with an agent's having some view of the good and an intention to bring it about. He explained...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

Hobbes and Locke

...and Overthrown, Locke attacks the views of Robert Filmer who had argued for an absolutist monarchy based upon the divine right policy. Locke denounces the doctrine of jury divino and negates Filmer's idea of mankind's primogeniture from Adam He advocates that no state could juxtapose upon the natural equality and freedom of man. In the Essay Two: Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government, Locke portrays the state of nature as one where individuals make judgements based upon the requirements of the law of nature. He asserts that the natural state of mankind is essentially anarchic. In contrast to Hobbes, who posited the state of...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Thomas Hobbes vs. John Locke/pro John Locke

...advantageousness and the importance of avoiding War and its subsequent destructions. It is important to emphasise the fact that Locke's concession to the fact that the State of Nature was not one of permanent harmony and that disagreements within could lead to war, disputes the suggestion that Locke's state of nature was as unrealistic a utopia as was Hobbes' an unrealistic dystopia. Locke, who views the state of nature as different from and insists it much more accommodating than Hobbes's portrayal, nonetheless admits the need for contract given the facts of human and social evolution which point to the idea that there are aspects...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Social Contract Theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke

...will but consult it, that being all equal and independent; no one has a right to harm another in his life, health, liberty of possessions. 1 Locke's social contract favored men quitting the state of nature to form themselves into a civil society. In this society men instituted the state where a social contract or covenant was formulated between citizens and government, a trustee which they could dismiss if it did not maintain the freedom and equality that men originally knew and enjoyed. In other words, when government no longer served the citizens' interests and welfare, it might be resisted or overthrown. Why, because government had violated its obligations under...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Comparing Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau

.... Hobbes, Thomas, 1668, Leviathan [ed. Edwin Curley], Indianapolis: Hackett Publishers, 1992. Locke, John, 1690, Second Treatise on Civil Government [ed. C. B MacPherson] Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1990. Popper, K. 1985, Popper Selections, [Edited by David Miller], Princeton University Press. Rousseau, J.-J. 1993, The Social Contrast and The Discourses [Translated by G.D.H. Cole], London: David Campbell Publishers Ltd.... of government emerged, there was constant war with “every man, against every man” (Hobbes, 1668, p.12). Consequently, Hobbesian justification of authority logically followed from the total brutality of human beings in their natural state characterized by intolerance: submission to authority was the only way...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

The Evolution of the Civil Society

...The Evolution of the “Civil Society” Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and his book Leviathan greatly influenced political thought in the seventeenth century, by arguing for the importance of the “social contract” in achieving peace and civil unity. John Locke (1632-1704) and his work Two Treatises on Government (1690) is also a seminal work on political thought, because he stresses the precedence of civil society over the government. These political thinkers have similarities and differences in how the idea of Europe as a “Civil Society” changed over time. Their views are...
8 Pages(1250 words)Term Paper

The Social Contract Theory Of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau the contract and what is to be exchanged Hobbes believed that the state existed in order to serve the will of the people who can choose to give power to or with hold political power. In this scenario, parties to the contract are the government and the people. Locke contradicted the ideas of Hobbes by arguing that the state was formed as a result social contract because in the state of nature, each individual judged themselves and there was no protection against those living outside the law of nature thereby suggesting that the state be guided by natural law. Rousseau states that civil society has not done anything in order to enforce the equality and...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

Civil Society

..., A. (2001, June 30). The Evolution of the Public Sphere in India. Economic and Political Weekly. Baviskar, B. S. (2001). NGOs and Civil Society in India. Sociological Bulletin, 50(1). Berglund, H. (2009). Civil Society in India: democratic space or the extension of elite domination. Working Paper, Stockholm, Stockholm University. Blaney, D. L., & Pasha, M. K. (1993). Civil society and democracy in the Third World: Ambiguities and historical possibilities. Studies in Comparative International Development, 28(1), 3-24. Brass, P. R. (1994). The politics of India since independence (Vol. 1). Cambridge University Press....
14 Pages(3500 words)Research Paper

The philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke

...The Philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke The Philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke Philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke hold different opinions on political authority. Locke believes that human beings are born free and equal; nature provides everyone with rights and governments are only formed to protect existing rights. This is different from Hobbes’ assumption that humankind is evil by nature and chaotic if left uncontrolled. Therefore, Hobbes advocates for absolute rule. Judging the two philosophers, the form of political authority that Locke favors is unrealistic. Hobbes believes that humankind is constantly faced by the threat of mayhem as everyone strives to satisfy their passions. As a result, formation... of a...
1 Pages(250 words)Assignment
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Term Paper on topic Hobbes and Locke on the Evolution of the Civil Society for FREE!

Contact Us