Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an important philosopher and political theorist.
His most important work,
, was written in 1651.
Nature hath made men so equal, in the faculties of body and mind, as that
though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of
quicker mind than another; yet when all is reckoned together, the difference
between man and man is not so considerable, as that one man can thereupon
claim to himself any benefit, to which another may not pretend, as well as he. For
as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest,
either by secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same
danger with himself . . .
And as to the faculties of the mind . . . men are . . . [more] equal than unequal . . .
From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our Ends.
And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they
cannot both enjoy, they become enemies, and in the way to their End, . . .
endeavor to destroy, or subdue one another . . . If one plant, sow, build, or
possess a convenient Seat, others may probably be expected to come prepared
with forces united, to dispossess, and deprive him, not only of the fruit of his
labor, but also of his life, or liberty . . .
So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First,
Competition; Secondly, Diffidence; Thirdly, Glory.
The first maketh men invade for Gain; the second, for Safety; and the third,
Reputation. The first use Violence to make themselves Masters of other men's
persons, wives, children, and cattle; the second, to defend them; the third, for
trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue,
either direct in their Persons, or by reflexion in their Kindred, their Friends, their
Nation, their Profession, or their Name.
Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to