Imagine a dialogue or conversation between Hobbes and Locke about the status and degree of power of the President in our current society. How would Locke criticize Hobbes’ theory of an absolute monarch? How would Hobbes defend his position and criticize Locke’s theory of a just government?
Consider carefully the arguments Hobbes uses to reject any �right� of a people to rebel or depose their monarch. How would Locke respond to this? How does he justify a right to revolution?
Do you think a people or nation has a right to rebel against its government? Under what conditions? For example, are the current rebellions going on in several states like Michigan and Nebraska against shelter in place justified from a Lockean perspective? Could the people of any one given state rebel against their governor?
Hobbes Discussion Questions
1. What significant historical event occurred prior to Thomas Hobbes’ writing of Leviathan? What is the meaning of the title? 2. Explain what Hobbes meant by the “state of nature” and by the “social contract.” 3. Why did Hobbes believe that the best form of government had a king as its sovereign? 4. How did Hobbes view the church’s relationship to government?
Locke Discussion Questions
1. What was John Locke’s educational and political background? How did his background reflect Enlightenment ideas? 2. Although Locke in Two Treatises of Government agreed with Hobbes about the necessity of a social contract in a brutish state of nature, what were his disagreements regarding man’s natural rights and the operation of the social contract? How did he view the power of the king? 3. What were Locke’s views on property and its relationship to government?
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