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locke’s views differ on the state of nature, the social contract, and the system of government. To what extent was each philosophe
The ‘State of Nature’ is a term in political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition of humanity before the state’s foundation and its monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force. (Wikipedia, 2006). In simpler words it is the condition before the rule of positive law comes into being or a way to discuss the conditions of society and government. Thinkers during the 17th and 18th century believed that whatever good things one had in the state of nature should not be lost when one entered into society. They evaluated the governments based on this condition.
Locke believed that in the state of nature men mostly kept their promises. American frontier is an example of people in the state of nature, where property rights and (for the most part) peace existed (James, n.d.). He believed that the state of nature was good. People are in a state of nature when it is socially acceptable to punish for wrongdoings done against you. Hence, if the government could not do as much for people as they did for themselves in the state of nature, the government could be invalidated.
Hobbes’ idea of the state of nature concern power and security and not the moral obligations. He believed that in state of nature people could behave badly towards each other. He compared the English Revolution to the ‘state of nature’, which was brutal. He had a very negative view of the Revolution and this convinced him that kingship was essential.
Hobbes opposed Locke’s view that people will generally follow the law of nature because they are naturally rational and not given to constant war. Locke believed that government should be from the people and that it should be limited so as not to violate the natural rights of people. Locke states that the entire population has the right to punish an offender so that he will not commit the crime again and so that others will be deterred from moral law breaking. (Wikipedia, 2006).