Dbq documents – Modern State

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Document 3

From: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651

So in the state of nature, every man is every other man’s enemy. There is no safety or security except one’s own strength and trickery. In this state of things there can be no factories or stores because products are always unsafe. There can be no farming, no trading, no large buildings, no arts, no sciences, no society. Worst of all there would be continual fear of death. The life of man would be solitary, poor nasty, brutish and short.

… This shows that we believe that only fear of an outside power keeps men in check. Nations and kings who have nothing to fear act toward one another just as we describe individual men acting in a state of nature. When a powerful society falls into civil war we see what men are really like outside of society.

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