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According to Thomas Hobbes, the state of nature in which man lived before the social contract was “a war of every Man against every Man,”[ [6] ] a condition of internecine strife in which the life of man was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”[ [7] ] Thomas Hobbes believed that self-preservation was the great lesson of natural law and that law and government would become necessary as a means of promoting order and personal security. “For each citizen to preserve his own life, he must give absolute and unconditional obedience to the law.” Hobbes’ political theory is best understood if separate in two parts: his theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Egoism, and his theory of the Social Contract. The direction of this assessment will look exclusively to Hobbe’s theory of Social Contract. The social contract is used by Hobbes in defense of absolutism and is thus used to justify authoritarian government. Hobbe’s own goal was to rule out the legitimacy of civil rebellion and thus to eliminate the possibility of civil war, which he regarded as the greatest of evils. Hobbes informs us that we should infer the characteristics of political obligation from “the intention of him that submitteth himself to his power, which is to be understood by the end for which he so submitteth. The use of a social contract to construct a natural rights doctrine is articulated most fully in the writings of John Locke.[ [9] ] To Locke the state of nature that preceded the social contract was not, as conceived by Hobbes, one of brutal horror, but rather a golden age, an Eden before the Fall.


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