Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, And Machiavelli Essay

2342 words - 9 pages

Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Machiavelli

The thirteenth through the eighteenth century brought profound changes in the political realm of Western civilization. Beginning with the Scientific Revolution and only advancing during the Renaissance, secularization and skepticism lead to changes in not only the intellectual life of Westerners, but also to their politics. At the forefront of the political debate were well-versed men such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. The influences of these men, though often criticized, can clearly be seen in the centuries and decades following their noted works. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau shared many concepts, but the similarities between their theories end at the word politics. Each had different ideas. Rousseau's and Locke's ideas appear to be wishful thinking while Hobbes's ideas seem to be too cynical. Machiavelli's ideas seem practical for his day and for an authoritarian government, but definitely not for a democratic system such as ours. I believe that the most accurate view for a successful society lies somewhere in between Hobbes's cynicism and Locke's optimism. Regardless as to who is most accurate, it is obvious that Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau all shaped modern political theories by their views.
Machiavelli was a prominent figure during the early sixteenth century. His political view stemmed from observing the division of Italy into small city-state systems during the late fifteenth century. Invasions, corruption, and instable governments marked this time period. According to Machiavelli, the success of the city-states was dependent on the effectiveness of the autocrats who headed these states. Machiavelli, through observation, saw what was necessary for an authoritarian state to be successful.
According to Machiavelli, the state and its laws were a creation of man that should be protected by the prince in whatever means necessary. "Machiavelli identifies the interests of the prince with the interests of the state." He felt that it was human nature to be selfish, opportunistic, cynical, dishonest, and gullible, which in essence, can be true. The state of nature was one of conflict; but conflict, Machiavelli reasoned, could be beneficial under the organization of a ruler. Machiavelli did not see all men as equal. He felt that some men were better suited to rule than others. I believe that this is true in almost any government. However, man in general, was corrupt -- always in search of more power. He felt that because of this corruptness, an absolute monarch was necessary to insure stability. Machiavelli outlined what characteristics this absolute ruler should have in The Prince. One example of this can be seen in his writings concerning morality. He saw the Judeo-Christian values as faulty in the state's success. "Such visionary expectations, he held, bring the state to ruin, for we do not live in the world of the "ought," the fanciful utopia, but in the...

Find Another Essay On Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Machiavelli

Locke, Rousseau, and King Essay

1141 words - 5 pages Throughout the existence of man debates over property and inequality have always existed. Man has been trying to reach the perfect state of society for as long as they have existed. John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Martin Luther King are three great examples of men who broke down the basics of how property and inequality are related. Each historical figure has their own distinct view on the situation. Some views are similar while others

Hobbes and Machiavelli Essay

1633 words - 7 pages foundation for modern political thought. In order to pave the way for future political theorists like Rousseau and Marx, these men needed to break away from classical philosophy if not partially then completely. Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence in 1469, only a little over a century before Hobbes. Even though these men were born relatively close in time, the general world outlook had changed tremendously. Machiavelli concentrated on how to

Hobbes and Locke

2095 words - 9 pages (A) Comparing and contrasting the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are comparable in their basic political ideologies about man and their rights in the state of nature before they enter a civil society. Their political ideas are very much similar in that regard. The resemblance between Hobbes and Locke’s philosophies are based on a few characteristics of the state of nature and the state of

Hobbes and Locke

1028 words - 5 pages In many ways Hobbes and Locke’s conclusions on man and society create a polarizing argument when held in comparison to each other. For instance the two make wildly conflicting assertions concerning mankind’s capacity to foster and achieve organized society. Hobbes asserts humans cannot be trusted to govern themselves lest they fall into war and chaos; Locke, on the other hand concludes almost the exact opposite. Despite the polarity in each

Political Philosophy: Locke and Rousseau

1584 words - 6 pages John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are excellent writers and philosophers. Their theories are very much alike with each other as well as differ at times. As they are political philosophers, their theories' main focus is based on society and its norms. Although their theories seem so similar, many differences will be observed when reading them in detail. Both of them have based their theories on different conjecture, which then results in total

Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2132 words - 9 pages people is going to be beneficial to them.      Rousseau was self-educated and based some of his theories on Hobbes and John Locke (28). In relation, the preservation of mankind is the law of nature established by the two political theorists: Hobbes and Rousseau. In order to abide by this law of nature, man enters into an agreement, forming the social contract. The social contract is a theory that views the foundation of morality being founded

Compare and Contrast Locke and Rousseau

774 words - 3 pages Compare and Contrast Locke and Rousseau The turmoil of the 1600's and the desire for more fair forms of government combined to set the stage for new ideas about sovereignty. Locke wrote many influential political pieces, such as The Second Treatise of Government, which included the proposal for a legislative branch of government that would be selected by the people. Rousseau supported a direct form of democracy in which the people

Hobbes and Rousseau, The State of Nature

1528 words - 7 pages Both Hobbes and Rousseau have different even opposing views on the topic of the natural state of man. These views play a major role on their beliefs and reasoning for why man needs society and government. These beliefs can be easily summarized with Hobbes believing in an inherent selfishness and competition in man, whereas Rousseau’s views on things is far more positive, believing that man is far happier in his natural state, and the root of

Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2212 words - 9 pages Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau have very different views on the social contract largely based on their fundamental views of the state of nature in humanity. These basic views of natural human nature cause Hobbes and Rousseau to have views on opposite sides of the spectrum, based on two controversial speculations, that human is inherently good or that human is inherently inclined towards egotism and perpetual insecurity. Due to his

Comparing John Locke and Thomas Hobbes

1232 words - 5 pages Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are two political philosophers who are famous for their theories about the formation of the society and discussing man in his natural state. Their theories are both psychologically insightful, but in nature, they are drastically different. Although they lived in the same timeframe, their ideas were derived from different events happening during this time. Hobbes drew his ideas on man from observation, during a

Hobbes and Locke: The Power Debate

1393 words - 6 pages Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were seventeenth century political philosophers whose different beliefs stemmed from the different contexts in which each man lived. Hobbes, an aristocrat who lived through the English civil war, had to flee England, watch his monarch’s execution, and observes the violence of human nature at its very worst. Given this experience, his central concern was the need for absolute power to maintain peace and prevent

Similar Essays

Locke, Hobbes And Rousseau Essay

2084 words - 8 pages What is common in Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau is state of nature. In the state of nature all people are equal – although they have different talents they are equal, because having different talents doesn’t prevent equality - and have same rights but in time they try to command each other and make domination upon them. Hobbes associate this desire with the effort to dispel the insecurity which is caused by equality between people. According to

The Natural Ways Of Locke, Hobbes, And Rousseau

1382 words - 6 pages In today’s society, human nature is a commonly used term. On the other hand, there is not just one concept of human nature, but rather a plethora of concepts surrounding the idea. With the rise of capitalism, social structure is reformed; it is during this rise in the early seventeenth and eighteenth century, that John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau introduce their varying opinions surrounding man in nature. The western

It Compares Hobbes, Locke And Rousseau In Regards To Social Contract, The State Of Nature And Each Of Their Ideal Governments

1843 words - 7 pages HOBBES, LOCKE AND ROUSSEAUTHE STATE OF NATUREHobbes invites us to take place in a thought experiment where equals and nonequals are placed together in a state of nature without the existence of a state power placed over them. Hobbes believes that the people will soon lapse into a state of war where each person is threatened with violent attack. He says the conflict is caused by three basic factors, which are, competition, diffidence and glory

Rousseau And Machiavelli Essay

1203 words - 5 pages Essay No 1 Machiavelli and Rousseau, both influential philosophers, were innovators of their time. They represented different ideas on what the state of nature and government should consist of, having both similarities and differences. Their viewpoints evolved from different time periods, which make them unique. Machiavelli, the sixteenth century Italian diplomat expressed, that a Prince should be unethical in achieving power. He argued