Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan

Read this text. As you read, consider whether you think it would be possible for Hobbes to make the claims he does without Machiavelli's theories laid out almost a century and a half earlier.

Thomas Hobbes designed the first theory of the sovereign state. In Leviathan, he sees life before the emergence of states as "nasty, brutish, and short", and envisions the Leviathan, a sovereign state led by a king who indiscriminately rules over his territory and citizenry. In turn, citizens give up their freedom for security.

Study Guide Questions:

  1. According to Hobbes, why should we accept law and government?
  2. According to Hobbes, what form of law and government should we accept?
  3. Describe how, according to Hobbes, civil society comes to be and is sustained out of his version of the state of nature.