Social Contract Theory: A Comparison of Hobbes and Locke
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Timeline of Hobbes•Apr. 5, 1588 Thomas Hobbes born in the village of Westport, near ancient town of Malmesbury in Wiltshire, England. His father, an Anglican priest, abandoned him after getting into a fist fight with another priest. His father fled and was never heard from again.•1603Queen Elizabeth dies replaced by King James I. Hobbes enrolls in Oxford.•1608 He works for Cavendish family as a secretary and tutor. (lasted 20 years)•1625 Charles I becomes King of Great Britain.•1629Hobbes publishes translation of Greek historian Thucydides.•1634Hobbes visits Italy and Paris where he meets Galileo, Gassendi, and Mersenne.•1640Charles I is defied by Long Parliament. Hobbes completes his first important work, “Elements of Law”•1641Hobbes moves to Paris.•1642He publishes “De Cive” (The Citizen), an exposition of his political philosophy. This work influenced the U.S. Constitution’s framers the most.•1642-1649English Civil Wars between royalists (supporters of the Royal King) and parliamentary forces (supporters of Parliament).•Jan. 1649 King Charles I is executed.•1649The Commonwealth begins its reign.•1650 “Elements of Law” is published. •1651 “Leviathan” is published in London. It is a Biblical exposition on the need for a central leader through a social contract. (See the image on the cover) It is a vigorous defense of a central government. It provoked attacks by both civil and ecclesiastical leaders and by defenders and opponents of central government. •1653 The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell governs England and The Commonwealth ceases.•1654 Hobbes publishes “De Corpore”. An Anglican bishop named John Bramhall challenged Hobbes’ Calvinist views in a treatise called “Of Liberty and Necessity”•1655Hobbes publishes “De Homine” (On Man). Mathematician John Wallis counters Hobbes’s views in a spat that lasted over 20 years.•1658The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell ends.•1660The Stuart Monarchy is restored with King Charles II. Hobbes was Charles’ tutor and is given a 100 pound pension.•Oct. 17, 1666 “Leviathan is condemned by the House of Commons as the chief book of atheism, blasphemy and profaneness. •1668In his defense he expanded “Leviathan” with appendices making it 505 pages long from its original 333 pages. He argued that he wasn’t a heretic since he did not oppose the Nicene Creed. However, he did not believe in the Holy Spirit nor did he believe in angels, demon or hell.