Book Summary: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes Book Cover

Leviathan is a political philosophy book written by Thomas Hobbes in 1651. The book is considered a classic and is one of the most influential works in the field of political science. In this book, Hobbes argues that the best form of government is an authoritarian one, where the ruler has absolute power over the people. He also argues that without a strong central government, society would descend into chaos and anarchy.

Chapter Summary

Chapter 1: The First Principles

In the first chapter of Leviathan, Hobbes introduces his theory of the social contract. He argues that individuals in a state of nature are in a constant state of war with one another, and that they form a government to protect themselves from each other. According to Hobbes, the government has absolute power over the people, and the people give up their rights in exchange for protection.

Chapter 2: The Natural Condition of Mankind

In this chapter, Hobbes describes the natural condition of mankind as one of war and violence. He argues that without a strong central government, people will be in a constant state of fear and conflict with one another. Hobbes believes that the only way to achieve peace and stability is through an authoritarian government that has absolute power over the people.

Chapter 3: The Cause of Sedition

In this chapter, Hobbes discusses the causes of sedition and rebellion. He argues that rebellion is always wrong, and that people should always obey their rulers. Hobbes believes that the only time rebellion is justified is when the government is actively harming the people.

Chapter 4: The Kingdom of God by Earth

In this chapter, Hobbes discusses the idea of a theocratic government. He argues that a government that is based on religious principles is the best form of government. Hobbes believes that a government that is based on religion will have the support of the people and will be more stable than a secular government.

Chapter 5: The Rights of Sovereigns

In this chapter, Hobbes discusses the rights of sovereigns. He argues that the sovereign has the right to do whatever is necessary to maintain order and stability. Hobbes believes that the sovereign has the right to take away the rights of the people if necessary, and that the people should always obey the sovereign.

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Conclusion

Leviathan is a classic work of political philosophy that continues to be relevant today. Hobbes’ arguments for an authoritarian government remain controversial, but his ideas have had a significant impact on the field of political science. Whether you agree with Hobbes’ ideas or not, Leviathan is a must-read for anyone interested in the study of government and politics.

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