This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

John Locke In Leviathan And Second Treatise Of Government

1545 words - 7 pages

When initially looking at the arguments of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in Leviathan and Second Treatise of Government, they seem to agree on many things. Both philosophers believe that human reasoning is based on appetites and aversions, that humans have a fundamental right to self-preservation, and, above all, that a strong central government is the way to remedy the problems with the state of nature. However, after looking closely, many important differences become apparent. All differences between the arguments of Hobbes and Locke, in regards to human nature and the formation of a social contract, stem from two crucial points: the authors’ value of individualism and sociality, both in ...view middle of the document...

This helps to explain Locke’s theory of property.
Although Locke believes humans are inherently social creatures, he places a high degree of value in the property of the individual. Instead of every person being an individual, asocial unit in the state of nature, as Hobbes believes, Locke acknowledges the existence of small communities, primarily families, in the pre-societal world (Locke, 1980: 42). The personal distinction in these communities comes in the form of property. Locke defines property as a person’s “life, liberty, and estate,” and if any person tries to violate another’s property, the violated has the right to protect himself by exacting punishment on the violator (46). This is when the state of nature becomes a state of war, because one person is imposing force on another’s property. Each man has the right to choose the appropriate level of punishment for the offender, because each man has his own executive power. Because “every one, as he is bound to preserve himself, . . . ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind,” this translates throughout the community; every man, so long as he respects the property of others, has the right to bring justice to anyone who offends property rights, regardless of whether the judge was affected directly (9).
In Locke’s commonwealth, the people must give up their right to executive power to the magistrate (Locke, 1980: 47). By doing this, punishments are impartial and consistent. The government ultimately determines what is right or wrong, based on what the majority of people think (52). The government is also able to determine the degree of punishment appropriate for each crime, and must govern by precedents and consistent, standing laws, which ensures that punishments are selfless and indifferent, regardless of socioeconomic status or other factors of inequality (75). However, this agreement to transfer executive power to a governing body is conditional: the right to maintain individual property carries over after entrance into a commonwealth, and if that right is violated, the constituents retain the right to rebel (113).
Both Hobbes and Locke observe the overwhelming presence of fear in the state of nature. Even though a person has the right to self-defense and the punishment of evildoers, that does not eliminate the constant fear of being attacked in the state of nature. This is a reason why, according to both philosophers, people are willing to be governed (Hobbes, 1968: 188; Locke, 1980: 16). However, in Hobbes’ form of government, that fear is not eliminated, only changed. Instead of fearing death or attack, now the people fear the sovereign itself (Hobbes, 1968: 198). In fact, the entire power of the sovereign comes directly from the fear it instills in those it governs. In exchange for this perpetual fear, the governed can live in peace, so long as they follow the sovereign’s rules and do not speak out against him (377).
Locke’s government, however, is based much...

Find Another Essay On John Locke in Leviathan and Second Treatise of Government

The Significance of Reason, discussed in John Locke's "The Second Treatise of Civil Government", and in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's, "Emile"

1353 words - 5 pages The significance of reason is discussed both in John Locke's, The Second Treatise of Civil Government, and in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's, Emile. However, the definitions that both authors give to the word "reason" vary significantly. I will now attempt to compare the different meanings that each man considered to be the accurate definition of reason.John Locke believed that the state "all men are naturally in ... is a state of perfect freedom" (122

Explaining the Origins and Evils of Society in Second Treatise of Government by Locke and Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Rousseau

1262 words - 6 pages Second Treatise of Government by John Locke and Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau are books written to try and explain the origin of society. Both try to explain the evils and inequalities of society, and to a certain degree to discuss whether man in his natural state is better than man in society. These political science based theories do not appear, at first, to have anything in common with J. Hector St. John De

Revenge and Justice in the Iliad and Second Treatise of Government

1269 words - 6 pages Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, and John Locke’s political philosophy essay, Second Treatise of Government, are two different types of literary works with different purposes, but they both strongly touch upon the themes of vengeance and justice. The nature of revenge is agreed upon, but its role in each of the two works is different. Locke implies absolute justice whereas Homer implies both absolute justice and subjective justice that is seen by

John Locke: Empiricism and Influencing Government

1400 words - 6 pages Treaties of Government. In The First Treatise of Government John Locke refutes and attacks the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings set forth by Sir Robert Filmer in his, Patriarchia. The Divine Right of Kings is the doctrine that kings derive their authority of right to rule from God and are accountable to no one, including their subjects. Basically, Locke points out that the premise of Filmer’s argument which was that all men were not naturally

Analysis of On Porperty: Second Treatsie by John Locke

1354 words - 6 pages “On the Property” “Of Property” is one of the most significant and controversial chapters in the Second Treatise. It contains the same theme of personal liberty found throughout the Second Treatise that I read in another political course. Here Locke makes clear that a man’s individual labor is his own and the laws of nature dictate that he reap the rewards of his hard work. “Every man has a property in his own person” (Locke 134). If an

Second Treatise of Goverment: Equality in Nature Versus Inequality of Wealth

1222 words - 5 pages In the beginning of the Second Treatise of Government, John Locke showed his protest against Filmer's theory about the omnipotent power of government over human beings. He assured that political power must derive from the divine state of human beings. That is the State of Nature which includes the state of perfect freedom and the state of perfect equality. In other words, he argued that all men are by nature created equal; however, John Locke

Biography of John Locke

1110 words - 4 pages movement ("John Locke"). He traveled across Europe gaining new ideas that would later turn be featured in two of his major publications, A Letter Concerning Toleration and Two Treatises of Government. John Locke got A Letter Concerning Toleration published in 1689 and it was first published in Latin. What made him put pen to paper and write this was the increased fear that Catholicism could very well be taking England over (Broers). Locke proposed a

History of John Locke

816 words - 3 pages of Shaftesbury; and while this nobleman was Lord Chancellor, Locke held the office of Secretary of Presentations.Shaftesbury went out of office in 1673, and two years later Locke went to France in search of health, supporting himself by acting as tutor to the son of Sir John Banks, and as physician to the wife of the English Ambassador at Paris. In 1679, Shaftesbury, being again in power, recalled Locke to England. He reluctantly obeyed, and

Comparison of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: Human Nature

1546 words - 6 pages sovereign. For Hobbes, only the omnipotent sovereign or “Leviathan” will ensure mankind’s safety and security. The following essay will, firstly, examine Hobbes’ pessimistic premises of human nature (equality, egotism, and competition), in contrast with John Locke’s charitable views of humanity; secondly, determine whether Hobbes’ resultant state of nature (an all out war) necessarily follows from his premises; thirdly, discuss whether Hobbes

John Locke and Government's Purpose

994 words - 4 pages way to keep in check or remove a corrupt government. Forward thinking John Locke described the government’s purpose in his Second Treatise on government. To this great thinker, political power is “a right of making laws…only for the public good” (Locke). This idea of organization is key to liberty. Government is made to protect the rights of a free person, not to remove or tarnish them. Thus, it is the type or arrangement of government that

John Locke and His Philosophies

1608 words - 7 pages John Locke, one of the most influential philosophers of his time, was born on August 29, 1632 in Wrington, a small village in England. His father, also named John, had been a lawyer as well as a military man who once served as a captain in the parliamentary army during the English civil war. Locke’s parents were both very devout Puritans and so to no surprise, Locke himself was raised with heavily Puritan beliefs. Because Locke’s father had

Similar Essays

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan And John Locke's Second Treatise Of Government

2995 words - 12 pages Hobbes' Leviathan and Locke's Second Treatise of Government Hobbes’ Leviathan and Locke’s Second Treatise of Government comprise critical works in the lexicon of political science theory. Both works expound on the origins and purpose of civil society and government. Hobbes’ and Locke’s writings center on the definition of the “state of nature” and the best means by which a society develops a systemic format from this beginning. The authors

John Locke: Second Treatise Of Civil Government

903 words - 4 pages Civil Government and Locke The Second Treatise of Government provides Locke's theorizes the individual rights and involvement with the government; he categorizes them in two areas -- natural rights theory and social contract. 1.Natural state; rights which human beings are to have before government comes into being. 2.Social contact; when conditions in natural state are unsatisfactory, and there's need to develop society into functioning of

Property In Second Treatise Of Civil Government And Robinson Crusoe

2557 words - 10 pages Property in Second Treatise of Civil Government and Robinson Crusoe              Both John Locke's Second Treatise of Civil Government and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe deal with the question of property. In these two texts, the following questions arise: when does common property become an individual's property; and what factors make the appropriation of property justifiable or not? These questions may be answered by looking at each

Conflicting Visions Of Freedom In John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty And John Locke’s The Second Treatise Of Government

1525 words - 7 pages John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and John Locke’s The Second Treatise of Government are influential literary works while which outlining the theoretical framework of each thinkers optimal state propose two conflicting visions of the very essence of man and his freedom. Locke and Mill have completely different views when it comes to how much freedom man should have in political society because they have obtained different views about man’s potential