Early Human Society Essay, Research Paper
Early Human Society
Between the years of 1500 and 1789, was a period of growing societies, government, culture, and the values of human beings. Many great English philosophers during this time such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Hobbes wrote and collected their ideas that depict the nature of human beings and how they come together to form a society in which governments are instituted. During this time, these philosophers laid down their ideas in Leviathan, Two Treatises on Civil Government, and The Social Contract.
The nature of human beings could be argued in many ways. Some may say it s our nature to be good. Others may claim that we are born naturally indifferent or wicked. As John Locke puts it, I believe that men are created in a tabula rasa manner. Meaning that human beings are created a blank tablet and it s up to society, our environment, and experiences that create and shape our character. We are neither born good or evil, but neutral until someone or something molds our personality, changing and molding until we become what our experiences have made us. Some have grown to be ones who enjoy helping others and strive to create a society in which we are all created equal and live in peace. Yet, there are others who have grown to be power hungry, selfish, greedy, and want nothing more than to be in the top positions, worshiping the almighty dollar.
Being how many humans have been molded into jealous, envious, malicious and cruel individuals, affects how others are shaped. As Hobbes mentions in his writing, Leviathan, he states some men can represent to others that which is good in the likeness of evil; and evil in the likeness of good; and augment or diminish the apparent greatness of good and evil, making men discontented and troubling their peace at their pleasure (Hobbes 35). Hobbes compares human beings to other sociably creatures such as bees and ants. He tells us that men are constantly in competition with each other, leading to war and hatred, while creatures such as the bee work together to get work accomplished. Humans also tend to think of themselves wiser and abler than others, while constantly comparing themselves to others noting how their achievements may be more distinguished than someone else s. While Locke tells us that man, compared to a group of bees or ants, works and thinks only for himself, I believe that it is our experiences and surroundings that make us into who we become, whether good or evil.
Societies and government were created and instituted for the well being and safety of humans. Since we are free-spirited and are able to think and believe on our own, we all have different ideas that we feel we should act upon. I think it was best put by John Locke in Two Treatises on Civil Government, Men being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent, which is done by agreeing with other men, to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living, one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any that are not of it (Locke 87). If there wasn t a government or laws to help control the behavior and actions of human beings, we could all do what we please and live in a world of complete chaos. Laws were established in order to forbid acts that put others in danger. Hobbes mentions that a good law is that which is needed for the good of the people and perspicuous. For the use of the laws, which are but rules authorized, is not to bind the people from all voluntary actions but to direct and keep them in a such a motion as not to hurt themselves by their oven impetuous desires, rashness, or indiscretion; as hedges are set not to stop travellers, but to keep them in their way (Hobbes 37). Here, Thomas Hobbes tells us that government and laws aren t created merely to stop humans from living freely as they wish, but to keep some control and restrictions in order to keep themselves and others safe and out of harms way. It would be illegal to commit homicide on the mere fact that you just didn t like a person. Creating a law that forbids this makes us as humans aware that if this act is committed, then we will have to face the consequences. These consequences could be as minor as a small fine or attending a program, to something more severe such as a lifetime in jail or the death penalty. Without any laws or someone to govern us and lead the way, human beings would have no restrictions. Having restrictions allows us to think hard on our actions knowing that forbidding the law and committing crimes will lead to a consequence that will not be pleasant.
Man was created not to be alone but to live in a society with others. Societies were made to preserve the human race because human beings need other human beings to depend on and advance with. Locke s ideas start back in time with the creation of Adam and Eve. He writes Adam was created a perfect man, his body and mind in full possession of their strength and reason, and so was capable from the first instance of his being provide for his own support and preservation, and govern his actions according to the dictates of the law and reason of God had implanted in him…the law that was to govern Adam was the same that was to govern all his posterity, the law of reason. When God created Adam, he set the path for all of civilization thereafter to take place. Adam couldn t procreate and survive alone, so God created Eve. Adam and Eve were our parents, guiding, preserving, nourishing, and educating us to create a more peaceful and reasonable society. Locke compares Adam and his posterity to the relationship of a parental unit and their child. Societies are made to preserve the human race because human beings need other human beings to depend on. Jean-Jacques Rousseau discusses this concept of the father to the child when he writes in The Social Contract, The most ancient of all societies, and the only one that is natural, is the family: and even so the children remain attached to the father only so long as they need him for their preservation. As soon as this need ceases, the natural bond is dissolved. The children, released from the obedience they owed to the father, and the father, released from the care he owed his children, return equally to the independence. If they remain united, they continue so no longer naturally, but voluntarily; and the family itself is then maintained only by convention (Rousseau 174-175). Rousseau is telling us that a society just as a child, is attached to its father for support and help, but as soon as the society grows up and becomes independent, it doesn t need the father anymore. Although the relationship is still there, it s not as strong as the bond that used to be there. Similarly, the relationship between England and the Americas; when the American states were old enough and stable enough to be a country on their own, they broke away and cut the ties with England. Although a bond remains, it s not as close as it used to be.
Societies were established in order to provide humans help and communication with each other in order to keep one another safe and peaceful.
The ideas of freedom, liberty, societies, and government started to come along during the period of 1500 and 1789. This was a time after the Enlightenment and the Revolution where mankind was beginning to learn more about each other and of technology. There were new countries being discovered, new advancements on warfare and ships. Communication was starting to progress through the printing press and newspapers. There were new ideas dealing with equality and freedom. Ideas from the Enlightenment and Revolution were carried across the seas to other countries. Trade amongst the different countries and different seas helped to form allies and connections. There were many new ideas dealing with religion and the right to worship and believe in whatever religion chosen. Equality amongst men and women, although still there, was slightly improving. This was also a period where the ideas of the social class were starting to diminish and a movement towards equality were taking place.
Taxes were levied or removed, the caste system started to disappear, and government started to take the place of the king. Due the revolution and progression of technology, I believe that society and government and the changing of ideas came from the Enlightenment and Revolution.
The period between the years of 1500 and 1789 was a time where societies started to grow, governments were starting to be instituted, and the values of humans started to drastically change. The ideas of John Locke s Two Treaties on Civil Government, Thomas Hobbes Leviathan, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau s The Social Contract expressed the nature of human beings and why we come together to form societies and governmental institutions.