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The Foundations Of Government Essay

811 words - 3 pages

The "Enlightenment" or the "Age of Realization" was an age of great advancement and reform for all of Europe and beyond. Great advancements were being made in the fields of science, philosophy, mathematics, and logic. Most people attribute these achievements to the social critics of that time, also known as the philosophers. These philosophers were controversial thinkers and pioneered the intellectual movements of the 1700's. They stood up for what they believed in, although they were constantly criticized and censured by many other people. Such philosophers include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Aristotle, and Montesquieu. Although their beliefs contradicted, they were all working to change what they thought was wrong with their present government. They were four men who disagreed about almost everything, and yet they were working towards a common goal.
Thomas Hobbes was born in London, England in 1588. He was educated at Oxford University in England where he studied the classics. In 1651, Hobbes wrote his most famous book, Leviathan. In this book he argued that most people were born evil and could not be trusted to govern themselves. He thought that a ruler needed to have complete control over his people to govern efficiently. His idea was to have something to force the people to obey their ruler at all costs. He called this document the Social Contract. He thought that giving power to an individual would start a "war of every man against every man" and make life "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. "Although these thoughts may seem to label Thomas Hobbes as a supporter of an authoritarian government, he favored a representative democracy. He coined the phrase, "voice of the people," but he thought that this "voice" should be vetoed if a ruler deemed it proper.
John Locke was born in 1632 at Wrinton in Somerset, England. He opposed the views of Thomas Hobbes and thought that people were born neither good nor evil. He believed that people's characters were solely based on their experiences and their environment. He also believed that people could learn from their experiences and change their characters for the better. He believed that people had three Natural Rights- life, liberty, and property. In Locke's eyes, the purpose of the government was to protect the people's Natural Rights. He thought that if the government was not doing this job, that the people had the right to overthrow it. Although...

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