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Distinction Between John Locke's and Thomas Hobbs' Theories

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Locke and Hobbes had their own different theories about government and the right of humans. In 1651 Hobbes published Leviathan, a book in which he challenged the Social Contract concept of government. Hobbes believed that humans possessed individual rights that had to be sacrificed for the good of that state. Hobbes believed the force that would tame the natural anarchy of which was human nature, would be the unlimited power of the king. Hobbes however felt there was no such thing as a "Divine Right" ruler. John Locke's theory about government was similar but also quite different. Lock believed that every human was born with a blank slate or a "tabula rasa". This meaning that he as well did not believe in the Divine Right king, since every human was born blank, and would learn everything that would shape their lives. Locke also believed that every human possessed certain unalienable rights. Much of our Declaration of Independence is based on Locke's theory of government which Thomas Jefferson put into words.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Locke believed that the government existed within the people and because the people willed its existence.



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