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Monarch in “Leviathan” Book by Thomas Hobbes


The issue of power and state were constantly in focus of many outstanding philosophers. From ancient times until nowadays the humanities insist on better ways of state conduct in terms of its kind and form for different societies. People tend to merge, in fact, with the current status quo in a definite country. The attempts of philosophers to define various notions for the state power began in antique time when Cicero first claimed about the formation of republic then after dark medieval times epochs of Renaissance and Enlightment gave mankind the precise evaluation about state and its varieties among different ethnical background within communities.

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Machiavelli and his “The Prince”, Adam Smith and “Wealth of Nations” were the grave works outlining the main functions of the state power, its separation and the role of the leader being the head of the state. Thomas Hobbes had personal opinion on the problem of the reigning form which should be paramount contrasting with other underhand practices in the world political development of the eighteenth century and after.

Monarch and his persons in attendance

It is generally known that Hobbes in his main work “Leviathan” insisted on the idea of monarchy as the only right and improved way of governing the country and “Common-wealth” as he admits. One of the chapters in his work is dedicated to the role of the sovereign and its evaluation due to six reasons which Hobbes pretends to prefer as grave and apparent arguments to the issue of strong centralized to the monarch Commonwealth. It is vital, as far as I am concerned, to choose 4 reasons out of 6 for better evaluation of them from my point of view.

The second reason looks great due to a weighty argumentation of this argument. The thing is that a monarch should have a team of people with whom he can make councils and provide the policy which is needful not only from only his perspective but with prospects of persons in attendance. Even the Scriptures provide the idea of better decision-making mechanism when applying to the multitude of views in terms of their adequacy and actual points as for the current situation. The stronger team in a monarch’s surroundings can also make its contribution into the prosperity of the Common-Wealth partaking in the initiatives’ adoption.

Firmness of a monarch word

That is why in “Leviathan” Hobbes singles out the significance of sovereign’s “Subjects”. The point is that the surroundings of a monarch and their capacity to act for the well-being of the country impact on the conditions under which the rest of the country’s constituent parts exist. This point also admits the extent of “Assembly” which is appointed by a monarch and, in fact, can be considered as the council. Every member of it was by some reasons pleased by the monarch due to various reasons weighty enough to make the sovereign rely on a council member’s opinion.

Personal agreement principle

Also Hobbes emphasizes the idea in which he distinguishes the decision-making mechanism and it reaction between one person and a number of persons: “the Resolutions of a Monarch are subject to no other Inconstancy, than that of Humane Nature.” (85) This third standpoint in his book correlates the strength and firmness of a monarch’s word and declaration. This approach argues the modern and widely-used concept of opinion pluralism.

The idea of it is that so many people, so many views. In fact, it is logically grounded and has the right to exist within society and general conditions of human being as for the Law of Nature, which Hobbes criticizes. The point of the author that those agreements which were adopted today can be rejected tomorrow are absolutely correct, for the nature of people is to gain more personal profits notwithstanding the needs of other less protected layers of the society.

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Thus, the purity of resolutions stated after every case of gathering loses their credibility and purpose for which they are signed. Though, these points are quite actual for contemporary society due to the state of injustice, which is provided today by many politics because of their contradictions and selfishness. People in all times needed the leader, not leaders for them to be directed towards a probable prosperity and state of protection or appropriate way of trade relationships. The word of a sovereign should be argued but not rejected or simply ignored.

The fourth argument of the philosopher touches upon the fact that a sovereign is in agreement with himself while finding out the way outs in this or that problem, because being sound-minded person he is going to follow his ideas. The Assembly is lack of such intentions as adopting decisions with one voice. This approach relates closely to the previous one. It is madness for a person not to respect his thoughts and decisions. It is logically grounded and leaves no objections as for the psychological part of the issue.

On the other hand, it is apparent that one person’s madness is not without foundation as of the expectancies about others. In other words, when many people urge to push the cart in various directions – it is one thing because the cart could not move, but when one person just directs this very cart in opposite direction – this leaves much to be desired due to worse effects of such policy. Though, a monarch should not be hung up with his personal righteousness, because it can cause greater harms in return. Furthermore, Hobbes finds even inconveniences which can be probable obstacles in the monarchy. As people say “every bean has its black”. It goes together with one-person reigning.

Another fact concerns the idea of the “Right of Succession” for the throne and the cases when a monarch is appointed to reign in early ages. Actually, the right only to inherit the status of a monarch is not avoidable according to Hobbes. He sees the solution in finding another close to an infant sovereign person from the number of relatives or surroundings. Direct and genetically proved essence of monarchical belonging is vital for providing the policy begun by previous representatives of sovereign family then inherited and continued by an heir. Otherwise, Hobbes sees the barrier for further claiming of the rules and news on behalf of a real monarch. He rejected any statement of his opponents about the possibility to adopt and implement the Monarch which could be elected.

For Elective Kings, are not Soveraignes, but Ministers of the Soveraigne; nor limited Kings Soveraignes, but Ministers of them that have the Soveraigne Power: nor are those Provinces which are in subjection to a Democracie, or Aristocracie of another Common-wealth, Democratically, or Aristocratically governed, but Monarchically. (86)

Delivery of power to further infant heirs

In fact, this is a definitely weakness of monarchy because of no rational prescriptions regarding to temporal substitution of an infant monarch. Thus, the development of a country can be delayed or even made worse. Unfortunately, this approach is closely related to the above mentioned ones and its reconsideration would apparently provoke the reconsideration of previous arguments.

For many reasons with regards to Hobbes the monarchical authority is good due to the wholeness of thoughts, decisions, and actions which are considered with only one man. Controversies and contradicting situations which are caused by agreements of a number of men can possibly mean the disputable outcomes which, as the author claims,” reduce the Multitude into the condition of Warre.” (84) The author is well-equipped with grave arguments, so that to point out all pros and cons supporting the idea of the “Absolute Monarchy” as the driving power for the successful and efficient society and state in which it “incorporated”. The words about the negative aspects of sovereign authority are dedicated to the generally accepted truth of “no ideal things under the sun”.

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The condition of man in this life shall never be without Inconveniences; but there happeneth in no Common-wealth any great Inconvenience, but what proceeds from the Subjects disobedience, and breach of those Covenants, from which the Common-wealth had its being. (92).


To conclude, Thomas Hobbes in his eminent work “Leviathan” makes grave and sincere attempts to point out the exceptional significance of a Monarch as a body of power who constitutes divine order over the territory he possesses. The argumentative base of the author is rather convincing due to the versatile outlook on the things which took place before the philosopher and at the time when he lived. There is every likelihood that Thomas Hobbes was one of those important persons in the world of British scientific thought who made great contribution into the safety of monarchy in Great Britain in present days notwithstanding the fact that the today’s Queen is reduced in power.

Works cited

Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Penguin Classics, 1968.

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StudyCorgi. "Monarch in “Leviathan” Book by Thomas Hobbes." October 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Monarch in “Leviathan” Book by Thomas Hobbes." October 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Monarch in “Leviathan” Book by Thomas Hobbes'. 30 October.

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