How far is it successful, and at what cost? Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau The Social Contract is a theory that originated during the Enlightenment, which addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.
This, in turn, leads to an obvious question: More importantly, which philosopher had better insight into the correct form of government? As stated by Locke: As a result of being born in Geneva, Rousseau favored small city-states and the concept of a direct democracy since he believed that smaller governments allowed for a maximization of liberties for the people.
To Rousseau, liberties and civic rights granted by the government were of the utmost importance and took precedence over issues such as security. Large nation-states, he believed, were difficult to control and required more government restrictions in order to maintain stability.
This concept is highly plausible when one considers the Roman Empire. In its final years, the Romans had expanded to such a great extent that maintaining control was next to impossible given the vast amount of people and cultures the empire encompassed. John Locke Source "Private Property: To survive in the state of nature, for example, Locke believed that individuals needed to be able to transform trees into shelter, and use the animals around them as a source of either food or clothing.
Rousseau, in comparison, did not feel as though individuals had a right to private property as Locke asserts.
The "Common Good" and "General Will: Locke asserted that through a representative democracy, the general will of the people would be reflected by the majority through elected representatives. While he felt that it was preferable to reach a consensus amongst the people on the appropriate direction for decisions, he realized that this would not always be possible.
While the majority leaves out the minority in decision-making i. Similarly, Rousseau argued that the majority opinion is a good measure of what the general will of the people is as well.
However, Rousseau believed that the pursuit of the general will is able to be diverted by factions and interest groups that can mislead and divide the general public away from the common good.
Modern examples of interest groups would include the Republican and Democratic parties, P. Rousseau felt that these types of groups were largely self-interested and placed their own interests above what was good for the people at large.
Once private interest groups steer the public away from the common good, Rousseau states: Because interest groups have this ability to divert the public sphere, it is plausible that Rousseau is arguing here that the majority can be wrong on occasion due to the outside influence of private individuals and associations that feel as though they understand what is best for the country better than the people do themselves.
As seen, his use of mass-executions was entirely against the common good of France.
For Robespierre, however, he only felt as though he was doing what was best for his country. For smaller governments, I believe that direct democracy is an efficient means to enact the general will of the people, given their smaller size and more direct interaction that smaller governments have with their people.
On the other hand, a representative democracy appears to be more efficient for larger governments, such as the United States, given the dramatic regional and local variations that exist across its interior.
Consequently, factions have proven quite problematic to the overall health of a nation, just as Rousseau stated nearly years ago. Suggestions for Further Reading Locke, John.
Two Treatises of Government. The Guernsey Press Company, Translated by Maurice Cranston. Who was most correct in their view of government?Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed theories on human nature and how men govern themselves.
With the passing of time, political views on the philosophy of government gradually changed. Despite their differences, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, all became three of /5(8).
Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed theories on human nature and how men govern themselves. With the passing of time, political views on the philosophy of government gradually changed. Despite their differences, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, all became three of the most /5(8).
To Hobbes and Locke, political institutions are a necessary evil; to Rousseau they are a blessing. Social Contract (2) People empower the state by their contract with the ruler. The citizens give the state (and society) complete control over themselves and their (individual) possessions. Locke believed that entering into such a covenant with government officials would best serve a “common good” and serve to create a “common law”—ideals which were also shared by Hobbes (Baker, ).
Essay, Research Paper: Hobbes Locke Rousseau Philosophy Free Philosophy research papers were donated by our members/visitors and are presented free of charge for informational use only. Hobbes point of view on human nature and how a government should be run is a more realistic way of looking at things than John Locke’s theory.