Machiavelli And Thomas Hobbes Influenced Term Paper


Furthermore, that the intent of all princes should be to use all means necessary to maintain their powerbase. The works of Thomas Hobbes were revolutionary during his time period. He used his understanding of human nature and extrapolated the need for absolutism within government. The Leviathan was revolutionary in that it expounded Hobbesian concept of a material universe. His essential premise is that everything in the universe consists only of matter in motion. Hobbes believes that all things have a material existence even God, and this allows him to derive a natural philosophy that fits within a framework for modern political thought. Hobbes main contribution is that he postulates a framework for human understanding, that we are in effect beasts in nature, until we have a framework of government. This understanding differs substantially from early philosophers who had a generally positive light of inherent human nature. Hobbes instead, believes that individuals are always self-motivated and myopic which would imply the need for a strong centralize government to ensure our security and general well-being.

The premise of his political conclusions is derived from his understanding of human nature. Hobbes invites us to consider a "state of nature," where a condition without government exists. In this state of nature, there is no perfect private judgment where no agency with recognized authority will arbitrate on disputes nor have the effective power to enforce decisions. Hobbes argues that within this state, "dissolute conditions of masterless men, without subjection to laws, and a coercive Power to tie their hands from rapine, and revenge" would ultimately make impossible all basic securities. Therefore without government, a society will lack all of the comforts, rules and civilization that makes today's life bearable. Within a context of no government, all individuals would act for their own self-interest and this interest would ultimately drive them to a state of war as all individuals fight for their own good. In such a condition there would be "no place for industry,...


When people mutually agree to obey a common authority, they create "sovereignty." The government's main duty is to maintain order and stability for which citizens can live freely. Therefore under Hobbes' argument for political legitimacy, it is not how a government came to power, but rather how effectively it can protect hose who have consent to obey it. His theory of political obligation and states power strongly advocates for a central leadership which has absolute monarchial power, this corresponds with the loyalist perspective of his times. Governmental legitimacy then is not factored by civilian contentment, but rather by the actual function of government itself.
Under Hobbesian politics, it is evident that absolutism has strong ground. Since men's natural inclination is to concern themselves with their own well-being, by nature it implies that such a government will function effectively if it has absolute authority. Power cannot be dividing nor limited by any provisions or it will not be able to maintain order. Thus, Hobbesian government gives the power of legislation, adjudication, enforcement, taxation, war-making all to the monarch in power. Hobbes argues that if the monarch lacks any of these powers, then it could compromise his ability to perform any of them. For example, if the authority only has the power to legislate, but no ability to interpret and enforcement then they will not be able to regulate conduct. All government must have the "essential rights of sovereignty."

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