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The liviathan

            In The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes asserts that the ideal form of government is composed of an omnipotent Sovereign, whose only innate responsibility to his subjects is to prevent civil war, which Hobbes feels is the natural state in which man would live without government. The Sovereign, he claims, is appointed by the people of a nation as their agent to maintain domestic order. Furthermore, Hobbes maintains that "because every Subject is by this Institution Author of all the Actions, and Judgments of the Soveraigne (sic) Instituted; it followes (sic), that whatsoever he doth, it can be no injury to any of his Subjects; nor ought he to be by any of them accused of Injustice" (92). This rationale makes sense by itself; however, Hobbes contradicts his own reasoning. He also asserts, "But if there be none that can give the Soveraigntie (sic), after the decease of him that was first elected; then has he power, nay he is obliged by the Law of Nature, to provide, by establishing his Successor, to keep those that had trusted him with the Government, from relapsing into the miserable condition of Civill (sic) warre (sic)" (101). The former quotation suggests that a sovereign's authority is derived from the fact that he was put into power as an agent of the people; the latter states that the ideal form of succession is when a sovereign has the power to choose his own successor. If a competent sovereign prevents civil war and thereby his own overthrow, and a sovereign deserves the right to appoint his own successor, then once a sovereign is appointed, his dynasty lasts indefinitely. Therefore, less than a century after the sovereign's initial appointment by the people, not a single person will still be alive who had any involvement in the sovereign's empowerment. Thus, the sovereign can by no means be considered an agent of the people. Because the Hobbesian notion that the Sovereign is an agent of the people is a fallacy, it naturally follows that an omnipotent Sovereign is unjustly the master of his subjects.