Similarities and differences between Hobbes and Locke
Both Hobbes and Locke agree that the government is a necessity. As reiterated by Hobbes, people form government for purposes of self-preservation. In any society, the creation of government is often perpetuated by fear. However, Hobbes is against limited government and supports absolute sovereignty since limited government is not sufficient in terms of safeguarding citizen’s right to self-preservation. In essence, absolute power as addressed by Hobbes arises when citizens give power to an individual or group of individuals. Consequently, the sovereign has the mandate to, for instance, wage war, impose taxes or declare peace. Hobbes further believes that establishing a government is necessary resorting to the state of nature. Hobbes also maintains that a government plays a role in preserving citizen’s lives (Hobbes, 1994). Locke believes in a government that is established by the people and works for the people. However, such a government does not create absolute sovereignty as posited by Hobbes. Locke also asserts that the people have a right to change a government that does not respect natural laws and human rights. On the other hand, while Hobbes and Locke recognize the importance of having a government, they differ on the amount of government and ruling respectively (Dunn, 1969).
With regards to rights and equality, Hobbes believes in the right of self-preservation. He also reiterates that men are equal in terms of their physical and mental capabilities.