What are Godwin's views on the origin of government? 

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Godwin states that governments are formed as a result of the need to advance individual interests and fear among the masses. The presumed leaders support such a political institution because it offers them, together with other elites, an opportunity to amass wealth. The masses, on the other hand, support the government because it will establish laws that will ensure they are protected from their neighbors. It is previous wars that have created fear in the masses to necessitate the formation of governments in an attempt to seek protection from aggressors. The elite would later become leaders of such institutions in order to protect their wealth and to improve their access to it. Thus government arises from the need of people to secure themselves and the need to protect their property. The political institution becomes a necessity because of the perception that it would apply laws impartially among the people to achieve these needs.

“They have placed this liberty principally in two articles; the security of our persons, and the security of our property.”

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