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Philosophies of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau

            The enlightenment was a European era in which scholars began to reject the ideas and beliefs of the authority and the Church, and started to think for themselves. Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jaques Rousseau were three enlightenment thinkers who each drafted different ideas about the state of nature, and political solutions to make society and government more utopia-like. Although all three had a tremendous impact on the French Revolution era, Locke's theories about the three fundamental rights of all humans, and the idea of a representative democracy really were the driving force behind the revolution. .
             Born during a time of religious warfare, this caused philosopher Thomas Hobbes to believe that humans are innately selfish and violent, and the only way they should be ruled is through a single sovereign power. Hobbes believed that humans were not driven by a higher purpose, that they were merely physical, and that human life was nasty, short, poor, brutish, and solitary. This contributes to his belief that if all people had an unlimited amount of power, it would become "a perpetual war of every man against his neighbor," meaning that people are motivated solely by passions, and will do almost anything to fulfill their desires. Humans a lot of the time think that their desires are good, when in fact they are quite bad, which Hobbes writes about in Leviathan. To keep humans and their constant desires in line, Hobbes suggests the sovereign ruler, a single ruler whose sole job is to protect the rights and well being of the people. Through this form of rule, laws would be made that all people would have to follow, instead of people just following their own judgement, and people would be punished accordingly for breaking the law. One might argue that this single ruler could be a corrupt being, but Hobbes counters that by saying that a corrupt ruler is better than no ruler.

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