The Concept of Sovereignty in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan: An Evaluation
Keywords:Sovereignty, state, authority, absolute, Commonwealth.
From the early period of intellectual discourse, philosophers and political writers have
always thought and wrote on the best and possible way (s) to govern human society, and the social
contractarians are not left out in this search. Thomas Hobbes is one of the social contractarians who
in search for peace and order in human society favoured absolute sovereignty. In his thinking, to
ensure a society that could be peaceful and harmonious free from anarchy, violence and war of all
against all as was the case in the state of nature, there must be an absolute sovereign whose ultimate
duty will be to protect citizens from both external and internal aggression. Having exposed and
evaluated Hobbes' concept of sovereignty, this paper discovered that although Hobbes had the
welfare of humanity at heart while proposing for an absolute sovereign, he seem not to know about the democratic culture and the role of education in the modern world. He also seem to forget that humans are shaped according to the conditions of their period and they socialize in different atmosphere hence his pessimistic view about the human nature. Giving the democratic tendencies of the modern world therefore, Hobbes' absolute sovereign cannot guarantee the needed harmony and peaceful coexistence as he thought of it rather, it would bring more problem than it would solve. In fact, Hobbes in advocating for absolute sovereign is against democratic principles of the modern world and tends towards tyranny.
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Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 103
Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 106
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Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 125
Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 132
Ibid p. 35
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