Topic: Hobbes vs. Locke Essay

The Enlightenment
The new ways of thinking developed during the Scientific Revolution began to extend into other
areas of life beyond that of just science. Scholars and philosophers began to re-think the old ideas
about religion, economics, and education. In France, these social critics were known as
“Philosophes”. For the most part, they were not professional philosophers, but rather selfappointed critics who believed that it was their duty to think critically. These thinkers focused
largely on questioning the role of government, which during that period consisted mostly of
absolute monarchies.
State of Nature
The “natural condition of mankind” that would exist if there were no government, no civilization,
no laws, and no common power to restrain human nature. The state of nature is a “war of all
against all,” in which human beings constantly seek to destroy each other in an incessant pursuit
for power. —Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
a) Explain the above passage in your own words:



b) Do you agree with the passage? Explain.



Hobbes and Locke
The Enlightenment started from key ideas put forth by two English political thinkers of the 1600’s,
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Both men experienced hardships in England early in that century
(in the English Civil War) but as a result, they developed very different ideas about government and
human nature.
Thomas Hobbes expressed his views in a book
called Leviathan. The horrors of the English
Civil war convinced him that all humans were
selfish and wicked.
John Locke wrote his views in a book called The
Two Treatises on Government. Locke took on a
more positive view of human nature. He believed
that all people are born with three natural rightslife, liberty, and property.
Hobbes and Locke: Views on Government
Hobbes
The only way to create a government is to give the power and strength to one man… men will give up
their right of governing oneself to this man. This is more than just giving up their individuality; it is
the real unity of them all. This done, so united in one person, is called a commonwealth.
Locke
The reason men enter into society is the preservation of their property; and the reason they make a
government is so laws can be made, and rules set, to limit the power of every member of society.
Whenever the government tries to take away the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery,
they put themselves into a state of war with the people who are then freed from any further
obedience.

Explain the differing views of Hobbes and Locke in your own words
Hobbes Locke
Name___________________ Date____
Who would agree with the following quotes: Locke or Hobbes?
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed…”
Thomas Jefferson (1787)
Who would agree with the above quote: Locke or Hobbes? Explain:



“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “
Thomas Jefferson (1787)
Who would agree with the above quote: Locke or Hobbes? Explain:



“The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God…it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent
and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class (the rich) a distinct,
permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second (people).”
Alexander Hamilton (1787)
Who would agree with the above quote: Locke or Hobbes? Explain:



“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to
alter or to abolish it…”
Thomas Jefferson (1787)
Who would agree with the above quote: Locke or Hobbes? Explain:



Look at the different issues below and with your group, decide how Locke
and Hobbes would answer the question.
Issue Hobbes Locke

  1. Should there be a military
    draft in times of war?
  2. Should the police use any
    means necessary to prevent
    crime?
    Do you agree more with Locke or Hobbes? Why?

Essential Question:
Who do you agree with Thomas Hobbes or John Locke? Why?
Task I:
Complete Essay Outline on paper.
Task II:
Please write a well-written essay (argumentative-one is better than the
other) that clearly argues for Thomas Hobbes or John Locke based on
your reading of the evidence (facts) provided. Then edit and revise essay.
Task III:
Submit on Turnitin.
Your paragraph must contain these elements:
1) An Introductory paragraph that introduces the topic and identifies
your main idea (Point of View).
2) Two to three Body paragraphs that clearly supports your Point of
View on Hobbes or Locke. 3) A Concluding paragraph that summarizes your Point of View and Connects.

essay, history, 2/550

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