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Absolutism and Limited Government Thomas Hobbes and John Locke set up the basis for the two major forms of government in the 17th century Hobbes believed that the only successful government would be an absolute monarchy Locke believed in a limited monarchy form of government Both of these systems were practiced over many years preceding their writings The purpose of their writings was to explain why those forms of government are legitimate Both theories begin with the same basic assumptions however their conclusions differ greatly Their opinions were heavily influenced by the general felling of people towards the government of that time The foundation of both of these theories is identical Man without government will never prosper They differ in that Hobbes seems to have believed that man by nature is constantly in a state of war He believed that men need government in order to feel safe He explains that without government there is no justice and injustice Locke has a less severe opinion on human nature He believed that man needs government in order to accumulate wealth Fundamentally both of these theories claim that man needs to be governed They then continue by explaining that government is formed out of peoples agreement to form a covenant This covenant takes away their absolute freedom in exchange for their safety In order for the covenant to be valid and its laws to be followed power must be abdicated to some greater power It is on the matter of what form this greater power should take where these two theories diverge Hobbes was concerned with restoring peace and order to England He believed that the only way to do this was through absolute monarchy He believed that distributing the power among several leaders would not solve the problem This would simply put them at war with each other Abdicating all the power to one sovereign who remains in the state of nature
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