Hobbes and Locke Views of Government

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John Locke and Thomas Hobbes are social philosophers who shared ideas of life. However, they differed so much in the state of nature fundamentals. The two argue that in order for people to benefit from society, they ought to make sacrifices of specific rights. Locke and Hobbes’s governmental disagreements inflicted these rights. Locke’s dominion was at all times held responsible to the human beings. His government involved unlimited control over people’s state of living. The leading clarification for their variation is their original priorities. Hobbes search for peace while Locke values property rights, life, and freedom.

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Purpose and government structure

Hobbes views nature as a condition of war and it is for this reason that the government is useful in differentiating a society. He suggests that human beings will not utilize reasoning means to overcome any pressing tribulation unless they are forced to structure societies that will be governed by a complete ruler. The selected ruler is not meant to use a lot rights to govern, but to retain power on condition that the state is led on force and threats. However, Locke differs with Hobbes since he views nature as freedom which is supposed to be preserved by the government. He emphasizes that governments are required to dismiss the idea of being ruled by total subjective to power and shift to governments that are democratic.

Natural law

According to Hobbes, human beings are continuously involved in violent activities which are against the expectations. On contrary Locke rejects violence arguing that freedom is given to all people. Therefore, Locke has a belief that a government is vital in preserving the natural law, whereas Hobbes takes the government to be useful in controlling the natural law.

Hobbes also thinks that human beings will adhere to the laws that are set by the government with fear of evil repercussions. He argues that the secret reason that will make people to be followers of a government is to give an explanation of how the government works. This is totally different with Locke since for him, he believes that human beings are ready to unite in the umbrella of one government, purposely to secure their lives, belongings and liberties Locke (Locke, p. 121).

Civil Society

On successful achievement of civil society, Locke explains that a government of commonwealth in relation to majority ideology ought to have a united legislative body for creating laws. Bobbes on the other hand preferred a single person to be the only one to make laws. Hobbes basically argues that any government is better off than a state of nature as long as it is available whether it is a corrupt one or not. He suggests that people will benefit from a corrupt government unlike with state of nature that is absolutely lawless. This kind of society lets power in people’s hands creating criticisms of the other philosophers (like Locke (Locke, p. 34).

He insists that the government should have rights to impose on human beings, but if one gets property that is subjected to the jurisdiction of the government, then he or she becomes a member of that particular state.

Contemporary shared contract theory

Hobbes discards the divine right theory which stated that the authority of a king is specifically provided by God and it is a inclusive theory to show that political responsibility makes people to obey God completely. In addition, he rejects the initial democratic view of power sharing between the parliament and king which was considered by parliamentarians, arguing that political authorities and responsibilities are aimed at gaining self-interests of people in a society who pretend to be equal to each other yet they conserve positions.

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According to Hobbes, the value of absolute authority in relation to sovereign resulted from the violence of natural state which was totally intolerable and this induces people to submit their lives to the authorities. Locke views natural state as a distinctive place basing his argument on social contract and the idea of human being’s association to authority as being totally different idea. He analyzes natural state as a condition of nature for mankind, a state that is completely liberal to let everybody’s life feet best in the society. However, no freedom to do anything that is viewed as one’s own interest and which is free from civil authority.


Despite, the allegations of natural law, Locke argues that limitations on the quantity of property owned exist. Property is the major concern for Locke’s argument on social agreement and civil government. Locke failed to predict the severe State of Nature like Hobbes. He came to visualize circumstances that people will be conducive after the discard of a certain civil state and opting for the natural state. In summary both the human nature, and morality itself, described the distinctions in both Hobbes and Locke’s observations on) social contract (Hobbes, p. 91).

Two Treatises

The Treatise is dived into the first and second Treatise. This first Treatise is comprehensive assault on Filmer’s Patriarchal, Locke’s disagreement proceeds in two directions: initially he challenges the Scriptural support which Filmer presented on his thesis and later argues that allowing it will result to absurdity. Lock decided on Filmer as his target due to his reputation on the divinely-ordained, inherited and complete monarchy. Filmer notes that Adam, in the Bible had unrestricted authority on his siblings and that authority were linked to various generations. This was largely attacked by Locke on the ground that allowing fatherhood given authority, would later come to an end making it difficult to transmit to children since life is only created by God. According to the second Treatise, Locke revisits the idea on parental power where Filmer made a suggestion that Adam’s total authority originated from his possession of the entire world, but disagrees by confirming that initially the world was kept in common.

State of nature

The state of nature under Locke was in traditional point of view since it did not involve divinely intended monarch in the entire world as it was suggested within First Treatise that natural state among human beings is lawless, while Hobbes viewed state of nature as being of hypothetical possibility. Locke argued that such state exists in absence of legitimate government, unlike with Hobbes who discloses the misery that result from natural state in a more open manner.

Private judgment and public reason

Hobbes is found to be a non-pluralist; however, he discovered the initial rousing of pluralism and was interested in political consequences. Hobbes was troubled about the conviction that a person’s religious conscience presented a stance on which to evaluate the legitimacy of a given political order. This idea was catastrophic because individuals making their own opinions would at no point converge. Hobbes presents the really diversity but aims at turning back to the reality of pluralism (Hobbes, p. 56).

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Hobbes has a policy concerning public reason which seems to be different from shared reason. The principle was distinctively constructed to respond to the shortage of common reason, a feature of the entire modern conceptions.

Hobbes resolves the pluralism crisis by making some stipulations. He notes that for a community to be firm politically, it is supposed to have laws which are acceptable from the entire public perspective. He concentrates on diversity but fall short of respect for that diversity, whereas with Locke, suggests that the public is offered with this trust but on very rare occasions (Hobbes 79).

The political views in Locke ideology was considerably clear especially on the theory of liberation. Locke practiced enormous influence in America as well as England. He initiated the idea that a government existed in order to protect the natural civil liberties of its own citizens. In case the state fails in this responsibility, its citizens have got the right to abandon their support and rebel accordingly.


In conclusion, it is worth noting that the views of both Locke and Hobbes about the government were largely based on their varied perceptions about the natural law and the nature of state in ruling people of a given state.

Works Cited

  1. Locke, John. Lester Locke’s Second treatise of civil government. New York: W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1978.
  2. Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Birmingham City: McGraw Hill, 2003.

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