The Human Conceptualization of the State, in Relation to the Law(S) of Nature as Theorized by John Locke and Thomas Hobbes

Topics: Political philosophy, Social contract, Human Pages: 3 (1002 words) Published: April 1, 2013
John Locke, in the Second Treatise of Civil Government, envisions a social contract in which individuals are naturally in a state of perfect freedom, in which they utilize objects as well as themselves as they desire; which is within the law of nature wherein all mankind was created, by God, equally. Therefore, all humans should be equal amongst fellow beings of the same species and rank without subordination or subjugation. However, Locke specifies that the exception is only when God designates one individual over another, giving that person undeniable right to be of the ruling “class”. This means that only persons, designated by God to be superior, are the sole individuals rightfully chosen to rule other beings of the same species. (Locke, Ch. II Sec. 4). In addition to this, he states that all people must treat others, of the same species and rank, with the same courtesies they would expect or desire for themselves (Locke, Ch. II Sec. 5). However, individuals are subject to uncontrollable liberty to make use of themselves as well as their possessions; in contrast, they are not at liberty to destroy themselves or a creature which they possess (Locke, Ch. II Sec. 6). Based on his ideal of the law of nature, all of mankind being equal, one is not at liberty to destroy another’s property, or cause damage to another’s health, liberty, or life. This is due to God’s ordinance over all human beings, in which they belong to him; as well as the fact that God is the only entity which can, or should, dictate the duration of one’s life (Locke, Ch. II Sec. 6). As a result, persons who violate the law of nature are subject to the punishment of that individual who was wronged; extending this not solely to punishment, but also reparation, in which the wrong doer must repay the plaintiff in some manner. In addition, being that when one person is wronged all of humanity is objectified; as a result, any persons whom wish to join the plaintiff’s punishment of the...

Cited: Hobbes, Thomas. "1660 The Leviathan." Oregon State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan 2013. <>.
Locke, John. "1690 The Second Treatise of Civil Government." Oregon State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan 2013. <>.
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