Last Updated March 29, 2001

"Great European Political Thinkers."

John Locke
Thomas Hobbes

    Some of John Locke's famous works include: On Toleration, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Two Treatises of Civil Government, Some Thoughts Concerning Education and The Reasonableness of Christianity.

Famous Works/

    Some of Thomas Hobbes' famous works include: Human Nature, De Corpore Politico, Leviathan and The Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance.

    John Locke's major ideas were that he believed that people should indeed have a dedicated person ruling over them, but that person should only be ruling as long as he had the consent of the people in which he was ruling. Locke also thought that people had rights, and that Government should protect these rights. Even though the government was protecting these rights, he thought they shouldn't have total power over the people. In this way Locke also believed there should be religious toleration between groups, allowing for different religions to coexist in the same area. Locke also believed that complex ideas people try to think of, arise from simple ones.

Major Ideas

    Some of Thomas Hobbes' major ideas were that he believed that the only true way to escape chaos was to give up their freedom towards peace governed by one ruler. In this way Hobbes thought that people could not rebel even if they thought the ruler was a tyrant or anything else for that matter. Another one of the major ideas supported by Thomas Hobbes was that he thought that generally all people were selfish, and did things for their own reasons despite thinking they were not. One of Hobbes other ideas was in the mutual transferring of rights. Such a mutual transfer of rights could be an act such as one person agreeing with another that the first person would not steal from the second, and the second would not steal from the first.

    "There seems to be a constant decay of all our Ideas, even of those which are struck deepest."

(Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ii. x. 5)

Important Quote

    "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

(Ch. 12, Leviathan)

    The connection to John Locke to today is that his ideas influenced Thomas Jefferson in the writing of our US Constitution. This constitution still governs the United States today and the reason for that is partly because of John Locke. Locke's views on religious toleration also echo the way times are today in the US for the most part. While it might have been a combination of different views, the amount of religious toleration that is in the US was brought about from the forming of the Thirteen Colonies, and the views John Locke had were many of the same on which the United States was founded.

Connections Today

    The connection to Thomas Hobbes today is that his views are not very highly supported throughout the world, but they do have occurrences. With Hobbe's ideas that one ruler should rule all with people taking in no part to rule themselves it almost describes a complete monarchy, which some smaller European countries currently have. Thomas Hobbes may not have started the absolute monarchy idea, but his thinking of it showed his way of thinking and that this currently happens in the world now.

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