Locke and Hobbes

Essay by juliagoldberg98High School, 10th gradeA, October 2014

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How does the founders' view of power affect the framers' reactions to John Locke? According to Locke, how does man enter the political society and what is the purpose of that society? What obligations does the government have in the civil society? What obligation does the individual have? How do Hobbes and Locke differ? Do you think Americans would agree with Locke? You may read the first paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence to assist you. What evidence do you have to support your view?

The founders believed that the power of government should be limited, so it doesn't trample on peoples' natural rights. The framers thus wrote in guarantees that the government could not usurp individual freedoms. Locke believed that citizens gave their consent to the government so that society would operate freely and safely. Government should ensure equal opportunity and protection of political and property rights. The individual is obligated to participate in the political process, but abide by the government's rules.

Hobbes is more pessimistic about how violent the state of nature would be and is therefore willing to give the government more power than Locke is. Yes, Americans seem happy that the government has power, but individuals retain rights as well. Unlike many countries, the United States has never had a revolt against its government in the last 200 years (The Civil War was something very different.)