What are the main differences in views of Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes in Social Contract theories?Please reference Thomas Hobbes's "The Leviathan" and Rousseau's "The Social Contract."
Jessica Pope | Certified Educator
Hobbes believed that man was basically competitive and combative by nature, and that the role of society is to force man to control his unruly inhibitions. In his treatise on human nature The Leviathan, he noted man's intrinsic characteristics: "In the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition: secondly, diffidence: thirdly, glory. The first, maketh men invade for gain: the second, for safety: and the third, for reputation." Rousseau, on the other hand, believed man to be an essentially logical and cooperative creature. The purpose of society is to facilitative that cooperation via language, institutions and community. Rousseau believed it was important to keep government limited so that it didn't infring upon human liberty. He was one of the first to articulate the brand of liberal democracy that many nations currently adopt. He noted in "The Social Contract" that: "to renounce libery is to renoune being a man, to surrender the rights of humanity and even its duties."