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Case Study of Locke Vs. Hobbes

When comparing Locke and Hobbes, their ideas seem to contradict each other. Their ideas about Freedom are very different but show the same meaning. “I authorize and give up my right of governing myself to this man, or to this assembly of men, all his actions in like manner,” states Hobbes saying that people’s rights are their own property and can do with them as they wish in order for them to gain their freedom, but if this is to be done he calls it commonwealth. While on the other hand, Locke mentions that, “But though this be a state of Liberty, yet it is not a state of license; though the man in that state has an uncontrollable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it.” This basically means that liberty equals freedom and license is lacking restraint (taking own or others’ life).

Hobbes goes on to say that in order to maintain peace and freedom we must have a commonwealth, but we owe “under the immortal god (the “commonwealth”) our peace and defence. For by this authority, given him by every particular man in the commonwealth, he hath the use of so much power and strength conferred to him, that by terror thereof he is enabled to perform the wills of them all, to peace at home and mutual aid against their enemies abroad.” In order to have freedom, we must strike terror into a man to keep him from destroying the freedom that is offered.

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Locke then contradicts Hobbes’s thoughts by saying, “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one; and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that, being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions. “ Thus, in order to keep this natural state of freedom and equality, we must use common law. This then creates a paradox that states; order to have the freedom we must destroy it.

So, lastly, Hobbes’s view on how man gains freedom is to assign a commonwealth (e.g. sovereign) which places down common laws to ensure this freedom. Different from Locke, who says that by placing fear into man’s heart, will he only then be able to have freedom.

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Case Study of Locke Vs. Hobbes. (2021, Mar 10). Retrieved August 5, 2021, from