English philosopher Thomas Hobbes's novel Leviathan (1651), John Locke's The Second Treasite of Government (1690), and Genevian philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality (1755) political theories and ideologies held an immense influence on the shaping of governmental systems and society in Europe and America. All three men start their arguments with the State of Nature as their basis. From this natural environment from which man is created and lives, and thus evolves, comes the formation of governments and sovereign states. "Man in the State of Nature;" which is further discussed in this essay as well as in the works themselves, is the characterization of the natural man. How he is by birth as well as how he evolves within the State of Nature are what differs between each philosophers work, The journey into this social phenomenon, the voluntary submission of natural man's rights in order to enter into a form of civil authority or government, is unique to each philosopher. Thus the purpose of this paper is to discuss the similarities and differences between the three modern philosopher's arguments on man within the state of nature and how that came to determine the political theories and implications for social relations. It will also identify each philosopher's reasons as to the purpose of government, as well as the impact of each of their conclusions and its relevance of authority within their depicted governments.
In his renowned text, Leviathan, English philosopher Thomas Hobbs introduces his theory on human nature; man's morality, politics, psychological egoism, and their correlations; as well as how they contribute to the creation of government. He introduces the idea of man in the State of Nature as utterly miserable, and he explains his circumstance and standard of living as "solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short" (Leviathan, Hobbes, 100).