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Essay example - Contrasting the Hobbesian and Lockeian Social Contracts

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Pages 6 (1506 words)
John Locke’s “The Second Treatise of Government” and Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan” both present theories for the construction of social contracts that would enable the sanctioning of a sovereign force to protect the whole…

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John Locke’s “The Second Treatise of Government” and Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan” both present theories for the construction of social contracts that would enable the sanctioning of a sovereign force to protect the whole. Where Locke takes a more liberal perspective, inviting the ideal that people can function by accepting a ruling authority for the greater good, Hobbes takes a similar yet opposing stance that while a ruling authority is key in the success of protecting the human race, people cannot accept such influence without giving up certain inalienable rights including their own personal sovereignty. With that said, a closer look will be taken into the contract theories of both Hobbes and Locke to determine how their different assumptions yield two distinct forms of social contracts and illuminate which political thinker’s ideal holds more value today. To begin with, John Locke has long been thought to be one of the most archetypal theorists in all of American political thinking. His ideas are so fundamental in the political landscape that it has been understood that his beliefs backed the foundations of the American Revolution in 1776. In his essay entitled “The Second Treatise of Government: An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government,” Locke details his theories for a distinct form of social contract in which he states that people would be bound by a moral code to uphold a certain dignity when dealing with others. ...
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