Analysis Of Thomas Hobbes' "Laws Of Nature" In Comparison To Benjamin Constant's Essay "The Liberty Of The Ancients Compared To That Of The Moderns."

815 words - 4 pages

The thesis of this paper is that Thomas Hobbes' first three "Laws of Nature" explain the evolution of cooperation in a state of nature, and are a prime example of how the modern state can protect an individual. Hobbes' view is that in a state of nature, where there is no system of government or ruling authority, individuals would join into a social contract to protect their peace and security. His first three "Laws of Nature" are what people will seek out before entering that social contract (Hobbes, 71).His first law is divided into two parts or as he calls them, "branches." The first law is "to seek peace" (Hobbes, 71). The most important thing to an individual is to be protected; ...view middle of the document...

People have come to recognize liberty as a completely different set of values and principles (Constant, 1). In modern times, liberty is the right to make your own decisions, and accept the consequences; as well as the right to select their own level of participation in government. Liberty of the ancient times, however, was collectively and directly to control government. (Constant, 2)Similarly, the definitions of Hobbes' values and his laws have changed. Still today we seek out the same principles that he highlighted as important. The principles themselves, however, are not the same. The peace Hobbes spoke of was peace from oppression and from a monarchy or emperor. The peace we seek today is in the form of freedom: the freedom to make our own choices and to be individuals. That is our peace.Because of this different definition of peace, Hobbes' views on laws can be clearly seen in our own laws in the United States. The laws of nature are present in our own bill of rights. The peace and security of Hobbes is in our second amendment, "the security of a free state." These words describe the freedom, the peace of Hobbes' day.The Bill of Rights, and the Constitution in general, is the supreme power of our nation. We...

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