Machiavelli, Boding, Hobbes, Locke & Rousseau


Political thought was revived in Western Europe in the fifteenth century. In his book, The Prince, Machiavelli treated politics as an art of Statecraft, by which a ruler could successfully defend his throne against his internal and external enemies by deceit and diplomacy, by merciless persecution of his enemies, real or potential, and by maintaining as powerful an army as possible, “for a prince can speak as loud as his gun” as he put it.

Boding, Hobbes, Locke & Rousseau:

Jean Bodin in France was the first political thinker to expound the theory of sovereignty or the absolute royal power to suppress the lawless behavior of the powerful feudal lords. Thomas Hobbes in England further expounded the absolute and unlimited sovereignty of the State as a guarantee against the lawlessness of the “State of nature”, into which mankind would lapse when there was no strong, highly centralized authority in human society. Later, another English thinker, John Locke, used the same arguments of the social contract theory to defend the rights of life, liberty and property by the limited government under a legislature or parliament. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the French thinker, JJ.Rousseaul, expounded the theory of modern democracy by declaring that the general will or the will of the people was the supreme, absolute and unlimited sovereign in the State.