From Hobbes's Leviathan (slightly updated spelling)

From the Introduction:

NATURE (the Art whereby God hath made and governes the World) is by the Art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an Artificial Animal. For seeing life is but a motion of Limbs, the begining whereof is in some principall part within; why may we not say, that all Automata (Engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificiall life?  For what is the Heart, but a Spring; and the Nerves, but so many Strings; and the joints, but so many Wheels, giving motion to the whole Body, such as was intended by the Artificer?  Art goes yet further, imitating that Rationall and most excellent work of Nature, Man. For by Art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMON-WEALTH, or (in latine CIVITAS) which is but an Artificiall Man; though of greater stature and strength than the Naturall, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which, the Souveraignty is an Artificiall Soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; The Magistrates [...] artificiall joints; Reward and Punishntent (by which fastned to the seat of the Soveraignty, every joynt and member is moved to perform his duty) are the Nerves, that do the same in the Body Naturall; The Wealth and Riches of all the particular members, are the Strength; Salus Populi (the peoples safety) its Businesse; Counsellors, by whom all things needfull for it to know, are suggested unto it, are the Memory; Equity and Law, an artificiall Reason and Will; Concord, Health; Sedition, Sicknesse; and Civill war, Death. Lastly, the Pacts and Covenants, by which the parts of this Body Politique were at first made, set together, and united, resemble that Fiat, or the Let us make man, pronounced by god in the Creation.

From part 1 ("Of MAN"):


Of the NATURAL CONDITON of Mankind, as concerning their Felicity, and Misery

[1. All men are roughly equal in respect of strength]

NATURE hath made men so equall, in the faculties of body, and mind; as that though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind then another; yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man, and man, is not so considerable, as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit, to which another may not pretend, as well as he. For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are in the same danger with himself.

And as to the faculties of the mind, [...,] I find yet a greater equality amongst men, than that of strength. For Prudence, is but Experience; which equal time, equally bestowes on all men, in those things they equally apply themselves unto. That which may perhaps make such equality incredible, is but a vain concept of one's own wisdom, which almost all men think they have in a greater degree, than [...] all men but themselves, and a few others, whom by Fame, or for concurring with themselves, they approve. 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 he many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other mens' at a distance. But this proveth rather that men are in that point equal, than unequal. For there is not ordinarily a greater sign of the equall distribution of any thing, than that every man is contented with his share.

[2. The war of all against all]

From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our Ends. And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which neverthelesse they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their End, (which is principally their own conservation, and sometimes their delectation only,) endeavour to destroy, or subdue one another. [...]

Again, men have no pleasure, (but on the contrary a great deale of grief) in keeping company, where there is no power able to over-awe them all. [...] Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe [= fear], they are in that condition which is called War; and such a war, as is of every man, against ever man. For WAR, consisteth 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 [...]: So the nature of War, consisteth not in actual fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary. All other time is PEACE. [...]

In such condition, there is no place for Industry; 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 Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.

[3. Are we really like that?]

It may seem strange to some man, that has not well weighed these things; that Nature should thus dissociate, and render men apt to invade, and destroy one another: and he may therefore [...]desire perhaps to have the same confirmed by Experience. Let him therefore consider with himself, when taking a journey, he armes himselfe, and seeks to go well accompanied; when going to sleep, he locks his doors; when even in his house he locks his chests; and this when he knows there be Laws, and public Officers, armed, to revenge all injuries shall be done him; what opinion he has of his fellow subjects, when he rides armed; of his fellow Citizens, when he locks his doors; and of his children, and - servants, when he locks his chests. Does he not there as much accuse mankind by his actions, as I do by my words? But neither of us accuse man's nature in it. The Desires, and other Passions of man, are in themselves no Sin. No more are the Actions, that proceed from those Passions, till they know a Law that forbids them: which till Laws be made they cannot, know: nor can any Law be made, till they have agreed upon the Person that shall make it.

[4. Did the war of all against all ever really take place?]

It may peradventure be thought, there was never such a time, nor condition of war as this; and I believe it was never generally so, over all the world: but there are many places, where they live so now. For the savage people in many places of America, except the government of small Families, the concord whereof dependeth on naturall lust, have no government at all; and live at this day in that brutish manner, as I said before. Howsoever, it may be perceived what manner of life there would be, where there were no common Power to fear; by the manner of life, which men that have formerly lived under a peaceful government, use to degenerate into, in a civill War.

[5. In the world of mules there are no rules...]

To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be Unjust. The notions of Right and Wrong, justice and Injustice have there no place. Where there is no common Power, there is no Law: where no Law, no Injustice. Force, and Fraud, are in war the two Cardinal virtues. Justice, and Injustice are none of the Faculties neither of the Body, nor Mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his Senses, and Passions. They are Qualities, that relate to men in Society, not in Solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no Propriety, no Dominion, no Mine and Thine distinct; but only that to be every man's that he can get; and for so long, as he can keep it. And thus much for the ill condition, which man by mere Nature is actually placed in; though with a possiblity to come out of it, consisting partly in the Passions, partly in his Reason.

The Passions that encline men to Peace, are Fear of Death; Desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living; and a Hope by their Industry to obtain them. And Reason suggesteth convenient Articles of Peace, upon which men may be drawn to agreement. These Articles, are they, which otherwise are called the Laws of Nature: whereof I shall speak more particularly, in the two following Chapters.


Of the first and second NATURAL LAWS, and of CONTRACTS [...]

[6. Natural "laws"]

A LAW OF NATURE, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or general Rule, found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; [...]

And because the condition of Man, (as hath been declared in the precedent Chapter) is a condition of War of every one against every one; in which case every one is governed by his own Reason; and there is nothing he can make use of, that may not be a help unto him, in preserving his life against his enemyes; It followeth, that in such a condition, every man has a Right to every thing; even to one anothers body. And therefore, as long as this natural Right of every man to every thing endureth, there can be no security to any man, (how strong or wise soever he be,) of living out the time, which Nature ordinarily alloweth men to live. And consequently it is a precept, or general rule of Reason, That every man, ought to endeavour Peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of War.The first branch of which Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamental Law of Nature; which is, to seek Peace, and follow it. The second, the sum of the Right of Nature; which is, By all means we can, to defend our selves.

From this Fundamental Law of Nature, by which men are commanded to endeavour Peace, is derived this second Law; That a man be willing, when others are so too, as far-forth, as for Peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself. For as long as every man holdeth this Right, of doing any thing he liketh; so long are all men in the condition of War. But if other men will not lay down their Right, as well as he; then there is no Reason for any one, to devest himself of [= renounce] his: For that were to expose himselfe to Prey, (which no man is bound to) rather than to dispose himself to Peace. This is that Law of the Gospel; Whatsoever you require that others should do to you, that do ye to them. And that Law of all men, Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri nefeceris.[whatever you don't want to be done to you, don't do to anyone else] [...]

[7. Inalienable rights]

Whensoever a man Transferreth his Right, or Renounceth it; it is either in consideration of some Right reciprocally transferred to himself; or for some other good he hopeth for thereby. For it is a voluntary act: and of the voluntary acts of every man, the object is some Good to himself. And therefore there be some Rights, which no man can be understood by any words, or other signes, to have abandoned, or transferred. As first a man cannot lay down the right of resisting them, that assault him by force, to take away his life; because he cannot be understood to ayme thereby, at any Good to himselfe. The same may be sayd of Wounds, and Chains, and Imprisonment; both because there is no benefit consequent to such patience; as there is to the patience of suffering another to be wounded, or imprisoned: as also because a man cannot tell, when he seeth men proceed against him by violence, whether they intend his death or not. And lastly the motive, and end for which this renouncing, and transferring of Right is introduced, is nothing else but the security of a man's person, in his life, and in the means of so preserving life, as not to be weary of it. And therefore if a man by words, or other signs, seem to despoyle himselfe of the End, for which those signes were intended; he is not to be understood as if he meant it, or that it was his will; but that he was ignorant of how such words and actions were to be interpreted. [...]

[8. Difference between living in the state of nature and living in a "civil state"]

If a Covenant [= something you convene, agree on] be made, wherein neither of the parties perform presently, but trust one another; in the condition of mere Nature, (which is a condition of War of every man against every man,) [...] it is void: But if there be a common Power set over them both, with right and force sufficient to compel performance; it is not void. For he that performeth first, has no assurance the other will performe after; because the bonds of words are too weak to break mens' ambition, avarice, anger, and other Passions, without the fear of some coerceive Power; which in the condition of mere Nature, where all men are equal, and judges of the justnesse of their own fears cannot possibly be supposed. And therefore he which [= who] performeth first, does but betray himself to his enemy; contrary to the Right (he can never abandon) of defending his life, and means of living.

But in a civil estate, where there is a Power set up to constrain those that would otherwise violate their faith, that fear is no more reasonable; and for that cause, he which by the Covenant is to perform first, is obliged so to do. [...]

[9. Obligations in the state of nature]

Covenants entred into by fear, in the condition of mere Nature, are obligatory. For example, if I Covenant to pay a ransom, or service for my life, to an enemy; I am bound by it. For it is a Contract, wherein one receiveth the benefit of life; the other is to receive money, or service for it; and consequently, where no other Law (as in the condition, of meer Nature) forbiddeth the performance, the Covenant is valid. Therefore Prisoners of war, if trusted with the payment of their Ransom, are obliged to pay it: And if a weaker Prince, make a disadvantageous peace with a stronger, for fear; he is bound to keep it; unless (as hath been said before) there ariseth some new, and just cause of fear, to renew the war. And even in Common-wealths, if I be forced to redeem myself from a Thief by promising him money, I am bound to pay it, till the Civil Law discharge me. For whatsoever I may lawfully do without Obligation, the same I may lawfully Covenant to do through fear: and what I lawfully Covenant, I cannot lawfully break.

A former Covenant, makes voyd a later. For a man that hath passed away his Right to one man to day, hath it not to pass to morrow to another: and therefore the later promise passeth no Right, but is null.

[10. The right to resist one's own execution - and why it doesn't help]

A Covenant not to defend my self from force, by force, is always void. For (as I have shewed before) no man can transfer, or lay down his Right to save himself from Death, Wounds, and imprisonment, (the avoiding whereof is the only End of laying down any Right, and therefore the promise of not resisting force, in no Covenant transferreth any right; nor is obliging. For though a man may Covenant thus, Unlesse I do so, or so, kill me; he cannot Covenant thus, Unlesse I do so, or so, I will not resist you, when you come to kill me. For man by nature chooseth the lesser evil, which is danger of death in resisting; rather than the greater, which is certain and present death in not resisting. And this is granted to be true by all men, in that they lead Criminals to Execution, and Prison, with armed men notwithstanding that such Criminals have consented to the Law, by which they are condemned. [...]


Of other Laws of Nature

[11. The third "law" of nature: pacta sunt servanda - keep your promises]

FROM that law of Nature [...] there followeth a Third; which is this, That men performe their Covenants made: without which, Covenants are in vain, and but Empty words; and the Right of all men to all things remaining, we are still in the condition of War.

And in this law of Nature, consisteth the Fountain and Originall [=origin] of JUSTICE. For where no Covenant hath preceded, there hath no Right been transferred, and every man has right to every thing; and consequently, no action can be Unjust. But when a Covenant is made, then to break it is Unjust: And the definition of INJUSTICE, is no other than the not Performance of Covenant. And whatsoever is not Unjust, is just.

But because Covenants of mutual trust, where there is a fear of not performance on either part, (as hath been said in the former Chapter,) are invalid; though the Originall of justice be the making of Covenants; yet justice actually there can be none, till the cause of such fear be taken away; which while men are in the natural condition of War, cannot be done. Therefore before the names of just, and Unjust can have place, there must be some coercive Power, to compel men equally to the performance of their Covenants, by the terror of some punishment, greater than the benefit they expect by the breach of their Covenant; and to make good that Propriety, which by mutual Contract men acquire, in recompence of the universall Right they abandon: and such power there is none before the erection of a Commonwealth. And this is also to be gathered out of the ordinary definition of justice in the Schooles: For they say, that Justice is the constant Will of giving to every man his own.And therefore where there is no Own, that is, no Propriety, there is no Injustice; and where there is no coercive Power erected, that is, where there is no Common-wealth, there is no Propriety; all men having Right to all things: Therefore where there is no Common-wealth, there nothing is Unjust. So that the nature of justice, consisteth in keeping of valid Covenants: but the Validity of Covenants begins not but with the Constitution of a Civil Power, sufficient to compel men to keep them: And then it is also that Propriety begins.

[12. The fourth law of nature: be grateful]

As justice dependeth on Antecedent Covenant; so does GRATITUDE depend on Antecedent Grace; that is to say, Antecedent Free-gift: and is the fourth Law of Nature; which may be conceived in this Form, That a man which receiveth Benefit from another Of mere Grace, Endeavour that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good will.  For no man giveth, but with intention of Good to himself; because Gift is Voluntary; and of all Voluntary Acts, the Object is to every man his own Good; of which if men see they shall be frustrated, there will be no beginning of benevolence, or trust; nor consequently of mutuall help; nor of reconciliation of one man to another; and therefore they are to remain still in the condition of War; which is contrary to the first and Fundamentall Law of Nature, which commandeth men to Seek Peace.  The breach of this Law is called Ingratitude; and hath the same relation to Grace, that injustice hath to Obligation by Covenant.

[13. The fifth law of nature: be nice, not nasty]

A fifth Law of Nature, is COMPLEASANCE; that is to say, That every man strive to accommodate himself to the rest. For the understanding whereof, we may consider, that there is in mens' aptness to Society; a diversity of Nature, rising from their diversity of Affections; not unlike to that we see in stones brought together for building of an Edifice. For as that stone which by the asperity, and irregularity of Figure, takes more room from others, than itself fills; and for the hardness, cannot be easily made plain, and thereby hindereth the building, is by the builders cast away as unprofitable, and troublesome: so also, a man that by asperity of Nature, will strive to retain those things which to himself are superfluous, and to others necessary; and for the stubbornness of his Passions, cannot be corrected, is to be left, or cast out of Society, as cumbersome thereunto. For seeing every man, not only by Right, but also by necessity of Nature, is supposed to endeavour all he can, to obtain that which is necessary for his conservation; He that shall oppose himself against it, for things superfluous, is guilty of the war that thereupon is to follow; and therefore doth that, which is contrary to the fundamental Law of Nature, which cornmandeth to seek Peace. The observers of this Law, may be called SOCIABLE, (the Latines call them Commodi;) The contrary, Stubborn, Insociable [...].

[14. The seventh "law" of nature - revenge is silly]

A seventh is, That in Revenges, (that is, retribution of Evil for Evil) Men look not at the greatness of the evil past, but the greatness of the good to follow. Whereby we are forbidden to inflict punishment with any other design [= purpose], than for correction of the offender, or direction of others. For this Law is consequent to the next before it, that commandeth Pardon, upon security of the Future time. Besides, Revenge without respect to the Example, and profit to come, is a triumph, or glorying in the hurt of another, tending to no end (for the End is always somewhat to Come;) and glorying to no end, is vain glory, and contrary to reason; and to hurt without reason, tendeth to the introduction of Warre; which is against the Law of Nature; and is commonly stiled by the name of Cruelty.[...]

[15. The ninth "law" of nature - treat others as equal to you]

The question who is the better man, has no place in the condition of meer Nature; where, (as has been shewn before,) all men are equal. The inequallity that now is, has been introduced by the Laws civil. I know that Aristotle in the first book of his Politiques, for a foundation of his doctrine, maketh men by Nature, some more worthy to Command, meaning the wiser sort (such as he thought himselfe to be for his Philosophy;) others to Serve, (meaning those that had strong bodies, but were not Philosophers as he;) as if Master and Servant were not introduced by consent of men, but by difference of Wit: which is not only against reason; but also against experience. For there are very few so foolish, that had not rather govern themselves, than be governed by others. [...] If Nature therefore have made men equall, that equality is to be acknowledged: or if Nature have made men unequal; yet because men that think themselves equall, will not enter into conditions of Peace, but upon Equal termes, such equality must be admitted. And therefore for the ninth law of Nature, I put this, That every man acknowledge other for his Equal by Nature. The breach of this Precept is Pride.

[16. The tenth "law" of nature - no discrimination, basic rights]

On this law, dependeth another, That at the entrance into conditions of Peace, no man require to reserve to himself any Right, which he is not content should be reserved to every one of the rest. As it is necessary for all men that seek peace, to lay down certain Rights of Nature; that is to say, not to have liberty to do all they list: so is it necessary for man's life, to retain some; as right to govern their own bodies; enjoy air, water, motion, ways to go from place to place; and all things else without which a man cannot live, or not live well. If in this case, at the making of Peace, men require for themselves, that which they would not have to be granted to others, they do contrary to the precedent law, that commandeth the acknowledgment of natural equality, and therefore also against the law of Nature. The observers of this law, are those we call Modest, and the breakers Arrogant men. [...]

[17. The golden rule]

And though this may seem too subtile a deduction of the Laws of Nature, to be taken notice of by all men; whereof the most part are too busy in getting food, and the rest too negligent to understand; yet to leave all men unexcusable, they have been contracted into one easy sum, intelligible, even to the meanest capacity; and that is, Do not that to another, which thou wouldest not have done to thy self; which sheweth him, that he has no more to do in learning the Laws of Nature, but, when weighing the actions of other men with his own, they seem too heavy, to put them into the other part of the ballance [= part of the scale], and his own into their place, that his own rid self-love, may add passions, anything to the weight; and then there is none of these Laws of Nature that will not appear unto him very reasonable.

The Laws of Nature oblige in foro interno; that is to say, they bind to a desire they should take place: but in foro externo; that is, to the putting them in act, not always. For he that should be modest, and tractable, and perform all he promises, in such time, and place, where no man else should do so, should but make himself a prey to others, and procure his own certain ruin, contrary to the ground of all Lawes of Nature, which tend to Nature's preservation. And again, he that having sufficient Security, that others shall observe the same Laws towards him, observes them not himself, seeketh not Peace, but War; & consequently the destruction of his Nature by Violence. [...]

[18. The status of "laws" of nature]

These dictates of Reason, men use to call by the name of Laws; but improperly: for they are but Conclusions, or Theorems concerning what conduceth to the conservation and defence of themselves; wheras Law, properly is the word of him, that by right hath command over others. But yet if we consider the same Theorems, as delivered in the word of God, that by right commandeth all things; then are they properly called Laws.

From part II (Of COMMON-WEALTH):

Chapter XVII

[19. How a common-wealth comes about]

The only way to erect such a Common Power, as may be able to defend them from the invasion of Foreigner, and the injuries of one another, and thereby to secure them in such sort, as that by their own industry, and by the fruits of the Earth, they may nourish themselves and live contentedly; 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: which is as much as to say, to appoint one man, or Assembly of men, to bear their Person; and every one to own, and acknowledge himselfe to be Author of whatsoever he that so beareth their Person [i.e.: represents them; persona = literally: mask, details: ch. 16] shall Act, or cause to be Acted, in those things which concem the Common Peace and Safety; and therein to submit their Wills, every one to his Will, and their judgements, to his judgment. This is more than Consent, or Concord; it is a reall Unity of them all, in one and the same Person, made by Covenant of every man with every man, in such manner, as if every man should say to every man,

I Authorise and give up my Right of Governing my self, to this Man, or to this Assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy Right to him, and Authorise all his Actions in like manner.

This done, the Multitude so united in one Person, is called a COMMON-WEALTH, in latine CIVITAS. This is the Generation of that great LEVIATHAN, [= monster] or rather (to speak more reverently) of that Mortal God, to which we owe under the Immortal God, our peace and defence. For by this Authority, given him by every particular man in the Common-Wealth, he hath the use of so much Power and Strength conferred on him, that by terror thereof, he is enabled to form the wills of them all, to Peace at home, and mutual aid against their enemies abroad. And in him consisteth the Essence of the Common-wealth; which (to define it,) is One Person, of whose Acts a great Multitude by mutuall Covenants one with another, have made themselves every one 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 Defence.

And he that carryeth this Person [cf. note above!], is called SOVERAIGNE, and said to have Soveraigne Power; and every one besides, his SUBJECT. [...]

[Chapter XVIII - The rights of the soverain]

[20. 2 no escape]

[...] Secondly, Because the Right of bearing the Person of them all, is given to him they make Soveraigne, by Covenant only of one to another, and not of him to any of them; there can happen no breach of Covenant on the part of the Soveraigne; and consequently none of his Subjects, by any pretence of forfeiture, can be freed from his Subjection. [...]

[21. 3 majority ruling]

Thirdly, because the major part hath by consenting voices declared a Soveiraigne; he that dissented must now consent with the rest; that is, be contented to avow all the actions he shall do, or else justly be destroyed by the rest. For if he voluntarily entered into the Congregation of them that were assembled, he sufficiently declared thereby his will (and therefore tacitely covenanted) to stand to what the major part should ordain: and therefore if he refuse to stand thereto, or make Protestation against any of their Decrees, he does contrary to his Covenant, and therefore unjustly. And whether he be of the Congregation, or not; and whether his consent be asked, or not, he must either submit to their decrees, or be left in the condition of war he was in before; wherein he might without injustice be destroyed by any man whatsoever.

[22. 4 no complainin']

Fourthly, because every Subject is by this Institution Author of all the Actions, and judgments of the Soveraigne Instituted; it follows, that whatsoever he doth, it can be no injury to any of his Subjects; nor ought he to be by any of them accused of Injustice. [...]

[23. 5 immunity]

Fiftly, and consequently to that which was sayd last, no man that hath Soveraigne power can justly be put to death, or otherwise in any manner by his Subjects punished. [...]

[24. 6 censorship]

Sixtly, it is annexed to the Soveraignty, to be judge of what opinions and Doctrines are averse, and what conducing to Peace; and consequently, on what occasions, how far, and what, men are to be trusted withall, in speaking to Multitudes of people; and who shall examine the Doctrines of all books before they be published. For the Actions of men proceed from their Opinions; [...]

[25. 7 Legislature, Assignment of property]

Seventhly, is annexed to the Soveraigntie, the whole power of prescribing the Rules, whereby every man may know, what Goods he may enjoy and what Actions he may do, without being molested by any of his fellow Subjects: And this is it men call Propriety. [...]

[26. 8 Judicature]

Eightly, is annexed to the Soveraigntie, the Right of judicature; that is to say, of hearing and deciding all Controversies, which may arise concerning Law, either Civill, or Naturall, or concerning Fact. For without the decision of Controversies, there is no protection of one Subject, against the injuries of another; [...]

[27. Anything is better than civil war]

But a man may here object, that the Condition of Subjects is very miserable; as being obnoxious to the lusts, and other irregular passions of him, or them that have so unlimited a Power in their hands. And commonly they that live under a Monarch, think it the fault of Monarchy; and they that live under the government of Democracy, or other Soveraign Assembly attribute all the inconvenience to that form of Common-wealth; whereas the Power in all formes, if they be perfect enough to protect them, is the same; not considering that the estate of Man can never be without some incommodity or other; and that the greatest, that in any forme of Government can possibly happen to the people in general, is scarce sensible, in respect of the miseries, and horrible calamities, that accompany a Civil War; or that dissolute condition of masterless men, without subjection to Laws, and a coercive Power to tye their hands from [...] revenge: nor considering that the greatest pressure of Soveraign Governours, proceedeth not from any delight, or profit they can expect in the dammage, or weakening of their Subjects, in whose vigor, consisteth their own strength and glory; but in the restiveness of themselves, that unwillingly contributing to their own defence, make it necessary for their Governours to draw from them what they can in time of Peace, that they may have means on any emergent occasion, or sudden need, to resist, or take advantage on their Enemies. For all men are by nature provided of notable multiplying glasses, (that is their Passions and Self-love,) through which, every little payment appeareth a great grievance; but are destitute of those prospective glasses, (namely Morall and Civill Science,) to see a far off the miseries that hang over them, and cannot without such payments be avoided.


Of the severall Kinds of Common-wealth by Institution, and of Succession to the Soveraigne Power

[28. Forms of government]

THE difference of Common-wealths, consisteth in the difference of the Soveraign, or the Person [see above] representative of all and every one of the Multitude. And because the Soveraignty is either in one Man, or in an Assembly of more than one; and into that Assembly either Every man hath right to enter, or not every one, but Certain men distinguished from the rest; it is manifest, there can be but Three kinds of Common-wealth. For the Representative must needs [= necessarily] be One man, or More: and if more, then it is the Assembly of All, or but of a Part. When the Representative is One man, then is the Commonwealth a MONARCHY: when an Assembly of all that will come together, then it is a DEMOCRACY, or Popular Common-wealth: when an Assembly of a Part only, then it is called an ARISTOCRACY. Other kind of Common-wealth there can be none: for either One, or More, or All must have the Soveraign Power [...].

1) If the state of nature never existed - what's the whole story good for? Why does Hobbes tell it?

2) What is a natural law according to Hobbes? Compare with "law of nature" and "law". Might there be a different meaning of "natural law"?

3) Why are certain rights inalienable?

4) "All men are equal" - what does Hobbes mean by this? Is he convincing? Does he mean the same we usually do when we use this phrase?

5) Why does Hobbes need obligations in the state of nature? Are his examples convincing?

6) What is Hobbes's argument for majority votes? Why are they important for him?

7) "If someone has the right to run away, I can't have the right to stop him" - would Hobbes agree?

8) Does Hobbes have a different conception of state than we have?

9) What would Hobbes say: If I'm mugged, may I defend myself or do I have to call the police first?

10) Is really anything better than civil war?

11) Would Hobbes have been against slave trade?

12) Is Hobbes' state a well-designed machine for its business, the safety of the people?

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