Second Treatise of Government

Lock, Hobbes, and the Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers, written by Jay, Madison, and Hamilton, were laid out in order to convince the individual states to ratify the new U.S. Constitution and defend a central government. Many times the words of these Founding Fathers echoed those of 17th century authors Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Federalist #10, #51, and #78, all bear resemblance to either or both of these philosophers, especially Locke's Two Treatises of Government and Hobbes' Leviathan. Many of the essays found in the Federalist Papers are in one way or another based on these two gentlemen, and specifically these two works.

In Federalist #10, James Madison addresses the problem of factions, and the problematic inability to dissolve these factions. He writes that factions are impossible to dissolve without taking away liberty, thus the best course of action is to take power away from the factions and attempt to control them. This is very similar to Hobbes' view of the "state of nature". According to Madison, a society with unchecked factions is likely to run rampant and wild, such as that described in Leviathan. Madison argues that factions exist to join people with similar passions or ideas and allows them to fight against what they...

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