Name Period Due Date  Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan Directions

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Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan

Directions: Today in class, we worked to define “Human Condition”. We learned that experts that study the human condition often times think about and research the issue of human nature. Below are selections from Thomas Hobbes’ The Leviathan, use this source to carefully complete the questions below. Complete questions 1 & 2 for homework.

  1. Analyze the cover to The Leviathan

    1. What characters or things do you see?


    1. What actions are taking place?


    1. Consider the characters, things, and actions: what is the significance?


  1. Read and annotate the text on the back of this page, looking for evidence on issues relating to the human condition. Use three different colors to mark the following:

    1. Human Nature

    2. Treatment of others

    3. System of government

  1. What is Hobbes’ view of human nature? List quotes from the text followed by an explanation in your own words.



  1. Hobbes believes in a commonwealth, an agreement between each citizen and their ruler. How does this system work? List quotes from the text followed by an explanation in your own words.



Selections from the leviathan

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Human Equality:

Nature has made men so equal, in the faculties of the body and mind; as that though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man and man, is not so considerable. . .

For such is the nature of men, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves. . . .
The State of Nature:

From this equality of ability, arises equality of hope in the attaining of our ends. And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies. . . .

Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man, against every man. For war consists not in battle only, or the act of fighting, but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known. In such condition there is no place for industry [meaning productive labor, not “industry” in modern sense of factories], because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building . . . no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and, which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty
The Commonwealth

If there be no Power erected, or not great enough for our security; every man will and may lawfully rely on his own strength and art, for caution against all other men… The only way to erect … a Common Power, as may be able to defend them from invasion of [foreigners] and the injuries of one another, and thereby to secure them in such sort… is, to [confer] all their power and strength upon one Man, or upon one Assembly of men, that may reduce all their Wills, by plurality of voices, unto one Will… and therein to submit their Will, every one to his Will, and their Judgments, to his Judgments.

This is more than Consent, or Concord… in one and the same Person, made by Covenant of every man with every man, in such as manner, as if every man should say to every man, I authorize and give up my Right of Governing myself, to this Man, or this Assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy Right to him, and Authorize all his Actions in like manner. This done, the Multitude so united in one Person, is called a COMMON-WEALTH.

… the Essense of the Common-wealth; which (to define it), is One Person, of whose Acts a great Multitude, by mutual Covenants one with another, have made themselves everyone the Author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their Peace and Common Defense. And he that carryeth this Person, is called SOVEREIGN, and said to have Sovereign Power; and everyone besides, his SUBJECT . . .

And therefore, they that are subjects to a Monarch, cannot without his leave cast of Monarchy… Consequently, none of [the sovereign’s] Subjects, by any presence of forfeiture, can be freed from his Subjection.

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