Rania HassanGb8216HIS1300Professor Aaron RetishWhat is the Role for the Nature of Man? One of the central themes for these philosophers is the government and how it should be formed. According to Hobbes, society only exists not by the power man, but the power of the state.
Preserving life and preventing loss of property are factors that Hobbes believes the government should be based on. One of the most important defenders to the rights of having a monarchy and having kingship was King James I. The belief that kings are Gods and will be treated as divine as God, creates an absolutist theory on how men with power should be entitled to. Locke however, believes that the government and its political theory should be in the interest of the people. The concept of human nature is in battle in terms of characteristics, such as ways of thought, emotions, and actions. For Hobbes, James I, and Locke, understanding the nature of man came from experience, environment, and social class, which helped shape their political rule.
Based on man’s basic nature, is whether or not men have to naturally form a government. For Thomas Hobbes, his theories are directly pointed to the nature of humans to give an understanding on how society functions. The belief is that the government was the only way of survival. In his work “Leviathan,” it is seemed to describe humans as selfish, and if there is no form of government, people would be in constant engagement with war and conflict. In most chapters, Hobbes argues that satisfaction from power will never be enough. Therefore, the constant way for more power with others is a struggle. In terms of powers, men are equal by nature as “the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are in the same danger as himself”(Hobbes, Leviathan, p.
14). In his view, a man’s life was going to be nasty, poor, brutish, and short. The growth of Hobbes’ views was greatly shaped by the English Civil War. The chaotic state of humans in that time period was how Hobbes decided that the government needed to stop being dysfunctional. A monarchy was the only way the government could be strong, when it comes Hobbes’ theory. A social contract theory, where a ruler has an agreement with the population, was ascribed by hobbes for the monarch to have full power, not allowing for people to rebel back to their ruler.
Hobbes’ thoughts and views have a part through his experience and what he has seen in terms of society in his way. The chaos of man in a state of violence calls for a leader to straighten out the nature of how they function, and support has been shown of this theory through following scholars. In the root of having a stable monarch, follows King James I and his political theory.
The idea of complete absolutism, sovereignty, and the role of the English parliament, comes from the texts True Law of Free Monarchies. In this essay, James uses conceptual arguments based on the duties of a monarch and how the monarchy rules is a direct authority from God. The idea is basically that Kings are divine and shall not listen to any other authority, especially the people.
James I had ambitions to rule a unified country and control all the kingdoms. To be the king of Great Britain was his goal, and to help with this movement went to churches, unions of law, and other institutions. These thoughts are now thought of as discriminatory and simply immoral towards society as a whole. However, James I assumed the English throne, and with that, a sense of greed came into mind.
The experience to rule makes people feel empowered and in control. To want full control of the subjects that are below in terms of class and have them admire, is a king’s ultimate goal. There is an understanding by some readers or scholars reading James’s political view and understand his perceptions. The concept of monarchies has been spread and followed by the first two philosophers. John Locke however, has a more democratic approach in terms of government. Instead of the people serving the government, it’s the other way around. The theory is that the state of nature is good, and the government should do much more for citizens, as they do for themselves. In Locke’s point of view, the human mind is just a development and man is a social creature that is made to be selfish.
His ideas were built of having tolerance in social and political issues. This came through Locke believing that danger from the government was in potential and the population should protest to have their voices be heard. His book, The Second Treatise, he states the four policies that the government should rule by in favor of the people. “First, They are to govern by promulgated established laws, not to be varied in particular cases, but to have one rule for rich and poor, for the favourite at court, and the country man at plough. Secondly, These laws also ought to be designed for no other end ultimately, but the good of the people. Thirdly, They must not raise taxes on the property of the people, without the consent of the people, given by themselves, or their deputies….
Fourthly, The legislative neither must nor can transfer the power of making laws to anybody else, or place it anywhere, but where the people have….
” (17-18). Locke knows that the nature of man is seen as independent the same when it comes to life, liberty, and security. People are taught right from wrong, and are capable of knowing and finding solutions to situations that are lawful and unlawful. His viewpoint really makes people question the ideas and norms that have been taken by supreme powers and citizens themselves. For these three philosophers, understanding the nature of man came from separate emotions and experiences. When it comes to deciding how society should be forming, they all started from a current perspective in their area. Hobbes wanted a secure government due to chaos and resolving violence, while James I wanted more government for the benefit of being a divine king. Locke experiences a different approach, which makes the nature of man have a different role and purpose from the first two.
The similarities these men have, come from the idea of questioning the role of man and what humans are made to do. The differences still strike scholars and readers in general on how society was like before today.