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THOMAS HOBBES, DEFENDER OF ABSOLUTE MONARCHY

     # Between 1600 and 1700, England's political
structure was transformed from an absolute monarchy
[a government in which the monarch held all the
power] into a parliamentary monarchy [a sharing of
power, with most power wielded by the parliament
and some power by the monarchy].

     # THE CENTURY WAS CHAR. BY WARFARE BETWEEN THE
ADVOCATES OF ABSOLUTE MONARCHY & THOSE OF
PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT. THE PARLIAMENTARY FORCES
ULTIMATELY WON OUT.

     # BY 1688, THE PARLIAMENTARY FORCES HAD
INSTALLED WILLIAM & MARY ON THE THRONE OF ENGLAND
[WHO HAD AGREED TO PLAY MORE OF A CEREMONIAL ROLE
AND LEAVE MOST OF THE POLITICAL DECISION-MAKING TO
THE PARLIAMENT], MARKING THE BEGINNING OF
PARLIAMENTARY RULE IN ENGLAND.

     # THOMAS HOBBES WAS THE PHILOSOPHER OF
ABSOLUTE MONARCHY [THE MONARCH COULD MAKE ANY LAWS
HE WISHED], AND JOHN LOCKE, THE PHILOSOPHER
STRONGLY OPPOSED TO ABSOLUTE GOVERNMENT AND
STRONGLY IN FAVOR OF PARLIAMENTARY RULE.

     # HOBBES SET FORTH HIS IDEAS ON GOVERNMENT IN
HIS CLASSIC BOOK, LEVIATHAN.

     # LEVIATHAN IS A MONSTROUS SEA CREATURE
MENTIONED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. MORE GENERALLY, IT
MEANS A VERY LARGE ANIMAL, OR ANYTHING UNUSUALLY
LARGE FOR ITS KIND. BY LEVIATHAN, HOBBES MEANS AN
ALL POWERFUL RULER, AN ABSOLUTE MONARCH.

     # WHAT IS PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT? TO FIND OUT,
HOBBES SPECULATED ABOUT WHAT LIFE MIGHT HAVE BEEN
LIKE BEFORE GOVERNMENT.

     # THIS STATE BEFORE GOVERNMENT HOBBES CALLED
THE STATE OF NATURE.

     # ACCORDING TO HOBBES, HUMANS ARE VERY EVIL
BEINGS, ALWAYS QUARRELING, ASSULTING, AND KILLING
ONE ANOTHER. LIFE IN THE STATE OF NATURE WAS VERY
BAD --> PEOPLE ALWAYS STEALING, RAPING, ROBBING,
KILLING.  HOBBES SAID THAT, IN THE STATE OF NATURE,
LIFE WAS "NASTY, BRUTISH, AND SHORT."

     # ACCORDING TO HOBBES, PEOPLE GOT FED UP WITH
LIVING SUCH A BRUTAL EXISTENCE AND DECIDED TO
CREATE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE LIFE BETTER.

     # THE PEOPLE FORMED A SOCIAL CONTRACT BETWEEN
THEMSELVES AND THE GOVERNMENT.  THE CONTRACT WAS
THIS: THE PEOPLE WOULD GIVE UP SOME OF THE FREEDOMS
THEY ENJOYED IN THE STATE OF NATURE [LIKE WREAKING
REVENGE ON PEOPLE THAT HAD DONE YOU A WRONG] TO THE
GOVERNMENT; BUT THE GOVERNMENT HAD TO USE ITS
POWERS TO PERFORM THE TWO MAIN FUNCTIONS OF
GOVERNMENT: TO PROTECT PERSONS AGAINST BODILY HARM;
AND TO PROTECT PROPERTY.

     # BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE SO PRONE TO EVIL, HOBBES
BELIEVED THAT YOU NEEDED AN ALL-POWERFUL MONARCH
[THE LEVIATHAN] TO KEEP PEOPLE IN LINE.  THIS IS
THE REASON HOBBES WAS A CHAMPION OF ABSOLUTE
MONARCHY.


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