The Review of Politics
The question addressed by this essay is whether Thomas Hobbes is the true intellectual forebear of John Locke. A brief comparison of the teachings of these two authors with respect to natural justice and civil justice would seem to suggest that Locke is a determined adversary of Hobbes whose views on justice are reducible to the maxim that "might makes right." But a re-examination of Locke's Second Treatise shows that Locke adopts this principle with hardly less thoroughness than Hobbes. Even so, an important difference remains, for Locke takes steps to disguise the grim reality of power, whereas Hobbes makes the enlightenment of people the sine qua non of his political science. Locke's departure from Hobbes is seen as an attempt to instill in the body politic a degree of justice that would not otherwise exist.
John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, philosophy, justice
Coby, John Patrick, "The Law of Nature in Locke's Second Treatise: Is Locke a Hobbesian?" (1987). Government: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.