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The Meaning and Nature of the Social Contract as Seen from the Point of View of Political Theorists, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
Why is Hobbes considered a liberal? Although his theories could hardly be viewed as liberal by today's standards, he was the first of a long line of ideologists and political theorists to emphasize the importance of the individual and make them the center of politics. He believed that government springs from human beings -individuals, and not from some divine sense of purpose or a birthright.
If Hobbes can be thought of as the first liberal thinker, than it is only fitting that we consider John Locke, the father of liberal democratic thought. Although Hobbes and Locke differed in their theories on government and society, the one thing, according to Bilson (1999), that they did have in common was their view of the importance and autonomy of the individual in society. The extent to which this was true varies but the one important fact remains - people existed as individuals before societies and governments came into being. They each possessed certain rights, and all had the freedom to do as they pleased, unrestrained according to Hobbes, and with some restrictions placed upon them by God, according to Locke. This freedom of the individual was important, for it was the foundation for modern liberal democracy.
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- The Meaning and Nature of the Social Contract as Seen from the Point of View of Political Theorists, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
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