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Aristotle

“Aristotle was the unimpeachable authority on every science and art known to his day.” (Maxey)

Aristotle was born in 384 BC. His father was Physician. He studied in Plato’s Academy for about 17 years. He was
attached to Plato’s Academy for two reasons:

1.It was the cradle of education in Greece for advanced studies.


2.He was so much influenced by Plato’ teaching.

He served as tutor of Alexander the Great in 343 BC and kept his school in the Lyceum for 12 years. After the death
of Alexander the Great, the Athenians revolted and prosecuted the accused persons of whom Aristotle was one of
the many. He was charged for impiety but he fled to avoid punishment.

During the middle Ages, he was simply considered “the Philosopher”. The recovery of his manuscripts in the
thirteenth century marks a turning point in the history of philosophy. According to Dunning, “the capital
significance of Aristotle in the history of political theories lies in the fact that he gave to politics the character
of an independent science.”

He is founder of science of logic. His monumental treatise “Politics” is the most valuable works on Political
Science. The “Politics” is a chief work on the science and art of Government giving full justification for existing of
the institution like the state, slavery and family is calculated to suggest the remedies for the ill of the body-politic of
the city-state. Though it is generally said that “Politics” is an unfinished treatise and often obscure but the half
understood words of Aristotle have become laws of thoughts to other ages.

Zeller says, “Politics of Aristotle is the richest treasure that has come down to us from antiquity, it is the
greatest contribution to the field of political science that we possess.”

Aristotle as Father of Political Science

The title of fatherhood of Political Science bestowed upon Aristotle is not without justification. He was brought up
in the order of medicine as his father was a physician of the king of Macedonia. Since his childhood he got every
opportunity and encouragement to develop a scientific bent of mind. Instead of turning towards literature like his
great master Plato, he built the terminology of science and philosophy.

In the words of Renan, “Socrates gave philosophy to mankind and Aristotle gave science to it.”

Aristotle gives us definite and clear-cut dogmas, instead of groping in illusions and imaginations. He does not
believe in abstract notions of justice and virtue, but has a concrete approach. He discarded utopian philosophy of
Plato and advocated logical and scientific theories based upon realism. Aristotle supported the principle of unity
through diversity. He was of the view that reality lay in the concrete manifestation of things. He separated ethics
from politics.

We can say that Aristotle laid the foundation of a real political science by his keen and practical political approach
and systematic treatment of the subject. He may be called the “Scientist of Politics” because of his empirical study.
He collected his data with care and minuteness, clarifies and defines it and draws logical conclusions which deserve
nothing but admiration and praise.
Aristotle’s Views on Origin of State
“Man is a political animal, destined by nature for state life.”

“State exists for the sake of good life and not for the sake of life only.” (Aristotle)

Aristotle was of the view that the origin of the state is present in the inherent desire of man to satisfy his economic
needs and racial instincts. The family is formed by male and female on the one hand and master and slave on the
other hand. Then they work for achievement of their desires. They live together and form a such family in
household which has its moral and social unity and value.

Aristotle said, “Family is the association established by nature for the supply of man’s everyday wants. But
when several families are united and the association aims at something more than the supply of daily need,
then come into existence the village. When several villages are united in a single community, perfect and
large enough to be quite self-sufficing, the state comes into existence, originating in the bare needs of life and
continuing in existence for the sake of good life.”

Three elements are essential to build the state on perfect lines i.e., fellowship, practical organization and justice. A
man without state is either a beast or a God. According to Aristotle, “he who by nature and not be mere accident
is without a state is either above humanity or below it, he is tribe-less, lawless and heartless one.”

The family is natural and inborn instinct, similarly the state is also natural for individuals. Baker said, “The state is
the natural home of the fully grown and natural man. It is an institution for the moral perfection of man to
which his whole nature moves.”

Aristotle was of the view that state is a “Political Koimonia”, an association which represents a functional unity of
varied and reciprocal parts made by the pursuit of a common aim in which their nature, their habits and their
training lead them all to join. Maclwain said, “The state is a kind of Koimonia which is a supreme over all
others, and embraces them all.” State is an association of human being and the highest form of association
existing for the sake of perfect and healthier life.

Functions of the State


1.The state is not merely an association of associations but it is a highest natural association for pursuits of spiritual
class of common life of virtue.
2.The state is based on the element of justice
3.It also aims at the highest good of the community for its proper realization of demands and needs in it.
4.The state functions to ensure a perfect and self-sufficing life of all its components members.
5.The state also ensures to fulfill all the natural needs of its members and to provide opportunities to the individuals
for the attainment of moral, intellectual and physical excellence.
6.According to Aristotle, “Man is essentially good and the function of the state is to develop his good faculties into
a habit of good actions.”

Rule of Law
Aristotle believed in natural laws but not the natural rights. The absence of law is the negation of good laws and this
meant lack of constitutional laws. Law was superior to the Government because it checked the latter's irregularities.
Rule by law was better than personal rule because law had as impersonal quality which the rules lacked.

Sabine paid tribute to Aristotle in these words, “the supremacy of law is accepted by Aristotle as a mark of a
good state and not merely as an unfortunate necessity.”

Justice means that every citizen in the state should abide by the dictates of law and fulfill its moral obligation
towards community members. According to Aristotle there should be two kind of justice:
1.Distributive Justice
It is mainly concerned with voluntary commercial transaction like sale, hire, furnishing of security, acquisition of
property etc.
2.Corrective Justice
It deals with proper allocation to each person according to his capacity and worth.

Aristotle emphasis that reward and honors should not be offered to the virtuous few but to others as who
collectively contribute in the welfare of the state and should be proportionately rewarded.
Theory of Revolution

Decay and disturbance in political life brought crucial changes in the Governments of the city-state in Greece, made
Aristotle to contemplate deeply and to stress the causes of the Revolution and its remedies. Aristotle’s theory is
divided into two parts:

1.First part is a practical manual of conduct advising democrats, aristocrats, monarchs and oligarchs and even
tyrants as how to keep themselves in power.

2.Second part is a treatise on the philosophical basis of the good and stable governments.

What is Revolution?

To Aristotle, if any change occurs in the existing system or constitution of the state, it means revolution. For
example, if in the state the constitution has changed from monarchy to democracy, it is a revolution. Aristotle was
of the view that if the constitution remains the same, but the ruling party has been transferred from one man to
another, it is also a revolution.

General Causes of Revolution:


1.The main feature of revolution is to be the craving of men for equality. Equality has two characters-absolute and
proportional. The proletariat are passionate to secure absolute equality for the availability of the same rights that are
possessed by few. The few struggle for proportional equality for perpetual upgrading superiority in power and
privilege.

2.Strong desire for justice becomes another feature of revolution. Aristotle was of the view that men turn to
revolution when they think they have not got their dues.

Particular Causes of Revolution:


1. Desire for gain and profit.

2. Universal desire for honor and prestige

3. The possession of sovereign power by an individual or group so as to create fear and apprehension in the minds
of the subject

4. Undue priority and prominence of individuals caused great stir in the heart of the subdued people

5. Disproportionate increase of power and wealth in any part of the state

6. Elections intrigues and moral degradation kept up in the selection of some people

7. Carelessness shown in granting public offices to disloyal citizens and undue favoritism shown to the individuals

8. Too much power concentrated in one man or class of men for political gains
9. Dissimilarity of different elements in the state

10. The rivalries of people of different races in the state

11. Dynastic quarrels and conflicts

12. Free immigration of outside races with different notions of justice and law

Revolutions in Particular kind of State:

1.Democracy
In democracies, revolutions are led by the dogmatic policies of demagogues in attacking the rich.

2.Tyranny or Oligarchy
In oligarchies, revolutions take place due to two reasons:
a)Oppressive or Totalitarian rule
b)Rivalry among the ruling dictators

3.Aristocracy
In aristocracies, revolution held to the policy of narrowing down the circle of the Government. Aristocracy tends to
become oliogarchy, through the undue encroachment of the richer classes polity to become democracy, through the
undue aspiration of the poorer class. According to Dunning “Stability can be maintained only by proportionate
equality and by giving to each his own.” Aristotle was of the view that democracy is more secure and stable than
oligarchy.

Remedies for Revolution:


1.Abundant political power should not be concentrated in the hands of one man or one class of men.

2.The various classes in the state without any discrimination of color and creed should be treated alike and with
proper consideration

3.Honors and rewards should be distributed as fairly as possible only to deserving ones because inequalities of
offices and honors drive men to revolt.

4.Political offices should be within reach of every individual who is able of performing his functions best.

5.The Government should be so vigilantly organized that the political office-holders cannot make money out of
their offices. Bribes and other kinds of illegal gratification should be made quite impossible to accept.

6.A Government would gain popularity and political stability if it so arranges things that the internal details of the
administration, particularly the administration of public finances is open to public scrutiny.

7.Proper education should be imparted to the citizens in the spirit of constitution.

8.Political stability and internal solidarity can be gained by maintaining proportionate equality.

9.The habit of obedience and submission to law should be instilled. Lawlessness and anarchy should not be allowed
to creep in even in small and trifling matter.

10.In oligarchy and aristocracy, the inferior class must be well treated and the principles of democratic equality
must be followed among the privileged classes. In democracy, the poor and the rich should be encouraged to take
part in the state administration which does not affect the sovereign power.
Aristotle also suggested various methods in making oligarchies and tyrannies-stable which are to be followed by a
tyrant.

a)A tyrant must employ spies particularly females to trace out disloyal persons to gallows the concerned.

b)He should follow an aggressive policy abroad

c)He should always warn people about constant fear of invasion from outside

d)He should keep the people busy and never allow them to remain in vertigo and lethargy.

e)He must extend enthusiasm in religion

f)He should punish the guilty so that crimes must be ended for the peaceful order in the state.

g)He should increase the material well-being of the citizens.

h)He should perish the intellectual life of the citizens to perish revolutionary tendencies.

i) He should adorn his city and must work for its glory

j)He must have respect for the good.

Aristotle put the security of the state above everything else. He even permitted interference in the privacy of
individual’s life when necessary in the interests of the state. According to Aristotle “A revolution constitutes more
a political than a legal change. It had the effect of reversing ethical, social and economic standard."
Plato

Introduction
Plato was born in Athens in 427 BC when the civilization of ancient Greece was at the zenith of glory and
eminence. He belonged to royal blood of aristocracy, from his mother’s side he was related to Solan, the law giver.
He made efforts to discover the eternal principles of human conduct i-e justice, temperance and courage which
alone imbibed the happiness to the individual and stability to the states. In 399 BC, the turning point came in the
life of Plato, the defeat of Athens by Sparta made him to despise democracy.
He wandered abroad for twelve years in Persia, Egypt, Africa, Italy and Sicily in the hours of disillusionment,
absorbing wisdom from every source and tasting every creedal dogma. Then he returned to Athens and opened an
academy. He wrote about 36 treaties all in the form of dialogues. His academy became the best school in Athens.

Work of Plato
“The Republic” is the most important and authentic work of Plato. It was about political philosophy, ethics,
education and metaphysics.
Other works of Plato include: “The Politicus”, “The Apology”, “The Meno”, “The Protagoras”, “The Gorgias”, and
“The Critias”.

The Republic and Plato

“The true romance of the Republic is the romance of free intelligence, unbound by custom, untrained indeed
by human stupidity and self will, able to direct the forces, even of customs and stupidity themselves along the
road to a national life.” (Prof. Sabine)
The Republic is an excellent product of Plato’s maturity. It is a major contribution to political philosophy,
education, economics, moral aspects of life and metaphysics.

Plato’s Republic known as “Respublica” in Latin is translated from Greek word “Politeia or Polity” which means a
political constitution in general. It is an achievement of comprehension, perfection and universality of thought. It
presents a picture not of any existing state in Greek but of an ideal state in which weakness of the existing states
were to be avoided.

Rousseau said, “The Republic is not a mere work upon politics but the finest treatise on education that ever
was written.”

Main feature of the Republic is the virtue of knowledge. Plato was of the view that different classes and individuals
had different capacities for the attainment of virtues. The labor class showed the least capacity. Philosophers were
the best entitled to rule the state because of their superiority in virtue. Plato considered justice to be the supreme
virtue and his ideal state be dwelt with it. We can say that the Republic is his master piece. Plato’s Republic is the
crowning achievement of art, science and philosophy.

According to Baker, “The mainspring of the Republic is Plato’s aversion to contemporary Capitalism and his
great desire to substitute a new scheme of Socialism.”

Criticism
The Republic contains a good deal of criticism on contemporary institutions, opinions and practices. The Republic
represents a strong protest against the teachings of Sophists and the existing social and political corruption.

Plato stresses that state should not be an assembly of corrupt and selfish individuals but be a communion of souls
united for the pursuit of justice and truth and also for the welfare of the people.
Plato’s Ideal State

“Until philosophers are kings or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and the power of
philosophy and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, cities will never rest from their evils.” (Plato)

The Republic of Plato is interpreted as Utopia to end all Utopias, not because it is a romance, but because he
constructed an ideal state in it. He compares the construction of an ideal state with an act of an artist who sketches
an ideal picture without concerning himself with the fact whether individual characteristic features of imaginative
picture are to be found anywhere or not? In the same way, Plato never thought of the possibility of the institutions
of his ideal state, being capable of ever becoming a reality. He never thought of the impracticability of this idea
concerning his ideal state.

Plato built his state on the analogy of an individual organism. He believed that the virtues of an individual and of
the state were identical. He was of the view that an individual presented almost the same features and qualities on a
smaller scale as society on a bigger scale.
Features of an Ideal State

1.Rule of Philosophy
Plato was of the view that in an ideal state the philosopher-ruler should be prominent. He should has a broaden
vision of unity of knowledge. Philosopher-kings are immune from the provisions of law and public opinion.

2.No unqualified absolutism


Though, neither, there is any restraint of law nor of public opinion over philosopher-rulers but that is not an
unqualified absolutism. It is not all despotism, because rule of philosophy is not free from the basic articles of the
constitution.

3.Control over the education system


Philosopher ruler should control the education system in an ideal state.

4.Justice in ideal state


Justice is the main feature of Plato’s Republic and it is also present in his ideal state. Justice is the bond which binds
every member of society together. It forms a harmonious union of individuals.

5.Censorship of art and literature


In ideal state, there should be a complete censorship of art and literature. It is necessary so that nothing immoral
things might falls into the hands of the young individuals.

6.System of Communism
Plato was of the view that guardian class should live under the system of communism of property and family. The
rulers and soldiers do not possess any property of their own.

7.Equality among men and women


According to Plato, equal opportunities should be given to both men and women for their economic, social,
intellectual and political uplift. We can say that Plato was the first feminist of his time.

8.Principle of Functional Specialization


Plato was of the view that due to multiple wants, an individual could not fulfill all his desires by himself alone due
to lack of capacity. Thus co-operation among individuals should be necessary to satisfy their mutual desires. Some
people are specialized in performing some certain tasks.

Criticism

1.Plato built his ideal state on the analogy of individual and this identification leads to confusion. He failed to
distinguish ethics from politics. His ideal state is based not merely on analogy but almost identification between the
individual and the state, which is quite wrong.

2.Plato fails to condemn the institution of slavery and regard it as fundamental evil.

3.Plato’s system of communism of women and temporary marriage is detestable and unethical.

4.Plato is a moralist rather than a political idealist. His assumption that the state should control the entire lives of its
citizens is false and contrary to human liberty.

5.By the system of functional specialization, Plato tends to dwarf the personality of the individual. There is no
possibility of any full development of human personality in his ideal state.

6.Plato completely ignores the lower class in his ideal state which forms the great bulk of population. Such
negligence may divide the society into two hostile groups.
Comparison between Plato and Aristotle

Aristotle, the favorite and most brilliant pupil of Plato, is more conscious of his differences than of the points of
agreement with him. The differences which these giants of philosophy were not the outcome of any grudge or ill-
will, but reflected their own way of solving the existing problems of their state.

Similarities
1.Both upheld slavery and justified its continuation in true spirit of Greek ideals. Each regarded slaves as an
indispensable part of the community for the manual performance and overall development progress of the state.

2.Both despised foreigners and regarded races other than Greeks fit for subjection and bondage and as mentally
inferior to the Greeks.

3.Both condemned democracy and wanted to replace it with some sort of constitutional or ideal polity while Plato
echoed in condemning democracy, as “What could have been more ridiculous than this mob-led, passion-
ridden democracy, this government by a debating society, a mobocracy.” On the other hand Aristotle was of
the view that “the people are not capable of self-government.”

4.Both wanted to impose limitations on citizenship. Both taught that all manual labor should be done by slaves or
non-citizens.

5.Both opposed the views of Sophists that the state came into birth for the sake of life and continues for the sake of
good life. It is this conviction which makes Aristotle a true Platonist.

6.Aristotle’s “Political” is no less a manual for statesman than the “Republic” of Plato.

Differences
1.While Plato draws conclusion through the use of allusion and analogy, Aristotle strikes at the very point with
definite and clear-cut dogmas and doctrine.

2.While Plato believes in the abstract notions of justice, virtue and idea. Aristotle judges the speculative
fundamentals on the basis of exact comparison and deduces a thought presentable and acceptable even in modern
civilization.

3.Where Plato is visionary, imaginative and utopian, Aristotle is logical, realist and scientific in his approach of
propounding theories.

4.If Plato believes in the doctrine that the reality of a material thing lies in its idea not in its form. Aristotle believes
that reality in the concrete manifestation of a thing, and not in its supposed inherent idea.

5. Plato believed in the phenomenon of unity through uniformity. On the other hand Aristotle was of the view that
unity could be achieved through diversity in universe and men.

6. Plato inseparably mixed ethics and politics. He subordinated political theories to ethical considerations. In
Aristotle it was quite the reverse. Ethics and politics were not only separated, but the former was made to sub serve
the later.

7. Plato was the propounder of new philosophy; Aristotle was a systemiser of already existing knowledge, and
made freshly streamlining and fascinating by his powerful influential and charming style for practical adoption for
state functions.

“Plato seeks a superman who will create a state as good as ought to be. Aristotle seeks a super science will
create a state as good as can be. Thus, all who believe in new worlds for old are disciples of Plato, all who
believe in old worlds made new by the toilsome use of science are disciples of Aristotle.” (Maxey)
Machiavelli

“Machiavelli had been represented as an utter cynic, an impassioned patriot, an ardent nationalist, a
political Jesuit, a convinced democrat and an unscrupulous seeker after the favor of depots.” (Sabine)

“In Machiavelli we find the frankest and the most brutal analysis of the selfishness, audacity, cunning,
deception, treachery, malevolence, cynicism, hatred and lust that were necessary for a prince.” (H. Thomas)

Machiavelli, the hated beloved prophet of secularism, had one of the enigmas of modern history, whom Allama
Iqbal has characterized as the “Sharp Agent of Devil” was born in Florence in 1469. Little is known about his
early education. However he was known as a well-read fellow in Italian and Latin classics. The Florence was ruled
by the Medici family in 1494, the Medicis were expelled from the city and Florence became a republic. In the same
year, Machiavelli first joined public life as a chancery clerk. In 1498, Machiavelli became second chancellor and
secretary of the Council of Ten, a body which had responsibility for war and interior affairs. He held that post for
fourteen years.

He was strong, vigorous and intelligent man. On many occasions, his services were required as diplomatic observer
in royal courts abroad. He was very much impressed by Cesare Borgia in Romagna. Cesare Borgia became the
model for “The Prince”, Machiavelli’s best known work. In 1506, Machiavelli persuaded the counsel to adopt his
plan for formation of a citizen army. But he failed in his plans because Medicis re-established their control over
Florence. The Medici exiled him and forbid his presence in Florence. Soon afterward Machiavelli having been
wrongly accused of implication in the Boscoli conspiracy against the Medici was imprisoned and tortured. He
eventually freed and permitted to return to his family.

Machiavelli, as a true Florentine was naturally shocked to see the political upheaval and social decay in his beloved
country and he determined to save her from all intrigues, disorders and petty wars. He denounced all the church
doctrines and held the Popes responsible for the plight state of affairs. He tirelessly struggled for the attainment of
glory and magnificence of Rome by consolidating all scattered forces. He enunciated the philosophy of art of
Governments for effective discipline and stability in the state. He advocated strongly for using the harsher methods
and oppressive means for the stability of the state. He firmly believed that “fear is the domineering weapon for a
Prince for complete obedience and is mightier than love.”

Moral Indifference of Machiavelli

The reasons of Machiavelli’s moral indifferences are following:

1.Machiavelli does not believe in any ethical dogmas or in any divine law because of intentional segregation of
politics from religion.

2.In Machiavelli’s philosophy, moral judgments are wholly subordinate to the existence of political and temporal
existence and welfare.

3. Machiavelli calculated that the institution of Papacy brought decline and destruction to the glory of Rome. He
wanted to practice pagan virtues of cunningness, duplicity and knavery for achieving successful goals.

4.He did not at all deny the excellence of moral virtues, but he refused to accept them essential to the political
stability. He pleads that the religion must be skillfully exploited as a useful weapon for achieving the annexing
designs by the sovereign.
5.Machiavelli stands courageously for the preservation of his state. He says that there must be no consideration of
what is just or unjust, merciful or cruel, glorious or shameful; on the contrary, everything must be disregarded.

6.He imparts priority to the state and puts it above morality and religion, because it is the highest form of social
organization and the most essential of all institutions for the protection and promotion of human welfare.

7.Machiavelli’s advocacy of unreligious and his indifference to morality have become so much disrupted that even
his name has become a by-word for fraud, force and dishonesty. He wrote primarily for the exaltation of the state.

In modern world, some of the States Heads acted as “Prince of Machiavelli” by freezing all channels of human
progress and liberty and also by reducing the citizens to that of animals and slaves. The Prince and the Discourses
are still modern theories and are being practiced in many secular countries of modern age.
Machiavelli and State Diplomacy

Machiavelli wrote his most important work “Prince” and dedicated it to de Medici, the prince of Florence. “Prince”
of Machiavelli is neither an academic treatise nor a book on political science. It is a memorandum on the art of
Government and of State diplomacy. It gives an awe-inspiring technique for successful ruler-ship and as such is a
guide to the rulers and kings of his time and of succeeding times, about the best means of maintaining their power.

The whole argument of Prince is based upon the premise directly derived from Aristotelian philosophy, that the
state is the highest form of human association and that consideration for the state welfare must be given priority and
preference than the well-being of the individuals. These premises led to the conclusion that it was Caesar and not
God to be worshipped. Here Machiavelli personified Caesar with a state and almost identifies the state with the
ruler. Caesar must make himself worthy of this worship by a cruel, ruthless and successful seizure of power. A
prince must possess the qualities of wisdom, egoism, selfishness and brutalities for the attainment of his motives. A
prince must consider his friend and neighbors his ardent foes and does not repose any confidence in them.
Machiavelli was of the views that:

“Virtue brings ruin, while vice brings security and prosperity.”

“Cruelty is better than mercy.”

“A wise ruler ought not to keep faith when such observance may be turned against him.”

The main point of Machiavelli’s state diplomacy are following:

1.Impart priority to your own interests. The strong must impose intimidatory laws upon the weak to arrest their
rebelliousness.

2.Honor to nobody but to yourself. He who aspires to acquire mastery can afford to have no rivals.

3.Do evil but pretend to do well. Machiavelli was of the view that to be good is harmful but to pose to be good is
useful diabolic attitude. Let mercy be on your tongue and evil in your heart.

4.The Prince should have no regard for the rights of others, especially foreigners. He should impose heavy tax upon
them to the point of robbing them.

5.A Prince should not be prodigal with the money of his own people, but he should be very liberal and generous
with the money plundered from other countries through aggression and other mean resources.

6.A Prince must discard all the canons of leniency and decency.
7.A Prince, in order to crush his competitors, must turn into a murderer and a looter.

8.The Prince must kill his enemies and if necessary, his friends. He must remain vigilant and alert from his relations
so that he may not be deposed, exiled and murdered.

9.Use force and duplicity rather than benign ness in dealing with other people. It is better to be creator of horrors
than to be maintainer of love and affection. When you over-power your enemy, root out the entire roots of his
family, otherwise some of his relatives will become vindictive to take revenge for the wrong you have inflicted.

10.Concentrate all your efforts on war. In the Machiavellian state, all regular channels of human activities are
barred and all roads lead to war
Western Political Thought---Thomas Hobbes

“Hobbes was in fact the first of the great modern philosophers who attempted to bring political theory into
intimate relations with a thoroughly modern system of thought, and he stroke to make this system broad
enough to account on scientific principles, for all the facts of nature, including human behavior both in its
individual and social aspects.” (Sabine)

Thomas Hobbes was born near Malmesbury in 1588. He was the victim of broken home. His father, the Vicar of
Westport, deserted his wife and children when Hobbes was still a boy. Hobbes received his early education in
Wiltshire, a place in Malmesbury. At the age of fifteen years, he joined Oxford. He got the degree of graduation at
the age of nineteen. His soul remained insatiate with the University education and found it worthless.

On leaving Oxford, he became tutor to the heir of William Cavendish who later on became Earl of Devonshire. His
contact with royal family brought him into contact with most important personalities of the period. He left England
during the horrors of civil war and was forced to take refuge in France, where he joined the supporters of royal
absolutism. He lived for about twenty years in France whose autocratic Government appealed him considerably.

It was this period in which he wrote his master piece of work “The Leviathan”, published in 1651. He attacked the
ancient institution of Papacy and also won disfavor from royalists. It was an important work of Hobbes which
brought him immortal fame in the history of Western political thought.

Hobbes built up a systematic philosophy of state, taking his stand neither on tradition nor on theology but on his
study of human nature. It was the crucial period when upholders of constitutional rule were fiercely fighting for the
annihilation of the supporters of Divine Right of Kings. Hobbes saw the miserable condition of his beloved country
and ardently advocated for the maintenance of authority and order, and he constructed a system of strong and
responsible sovereign Government on the basis of the then very popular doctrine of social contract. Hobbes was,
thus, as much a creature of his times as Machiavelli was. However he found a link between Renaissance and the
Restoration.

Hobbes’s Conception of State of Nature

Hobbes was of the view, “The only basis of human action is a perpetual and restless desire of power after
power that ends only in death. By nature man is selfish and egoistical. Every one is striving for the
gratification of his appetites and these appetites are different from individual to individual because of
physical constitution, education and experience."

Hobbes’s man lived originally in state of nature without the benefits of Government. All human actions were
regulated by two things:
1.The instinct of self-preservation
2.Individual egoism

According to Hobbes, the state of nature was “a state of war of all against all in which the chief virtue of
mankind were force and fraud.” There was no Government of civil laws to maintain peace and order, but a
Government of fear, danger and coercion.

Hobbes said, “During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that
condition which is called war, and such a war, as is of every man against every man. In such condition there
is no place for industry because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no
navigation, no use of commodities that may be imported by seas, no knowledge of the face of the earth; no
account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent
death.”

Logical Conclusions:
1.Hobbes was of the view that there was no distinction between right and wrong in the state of nature. Only force,
deceitfulness and intimidation were the order of the day. The only slogan echoed “Kill when you can, usurp what
you can.”
2.There can be no private property in the state of nature for possession of a thing depends upon the power of
upholding it.

According to Hobbes, man undoubtedly wanted peace and tranquility; but his fear of others, his anxiety to retain
what is already had and his never ending desire for self aggrandizement on the basis of ‘mine and mine’ led him to
perennial conflict and anarchy in the state. Man is the state of nature becomes the slave and tool of impulses and
passions. Later on man realized that peace had definitely more utility than constant was and fear of violent death
brought man’s passions into line with his reasons.

Man could live in harmony and peace with one another either through fear of punishment or desire for profit. And
this purpose could only be achieved by establishing a strong and stable Government capable of inspiring awe and
fear by using harsh and arbitrary methods who disobey its laws and of giving attractive rewards to those who do
conform.
Hobbes and Theory of Sovereignty

Hobbes’s sovereign was presented as a Mortal God vested with absolute and unchallenged power to rule over his
subjects arbitrarily. He was the smasher of the regular channels of democracy, a way of life. Hobbes’s sovereign
suffocated all the social and cultural communication between the people bringing about a reign of oppression and
harshness.

Hobbes said, “By this authority, given him every particularly man in the wealth, he has the use of so much
power and strength conferred upon him, that the terror thereof, he is enable to form the wills of them all to
peace at home and mutual aid against their enemies abroad. And in him consists the essence of the
Commonwealth which is one person, of which acts a multitude, by mutual covenants one with another have
made themselves, every one the author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall
thinker expedient, for their peace and common defense.”

Features of Sovereignty

1.The sovereign is absolute and all powerful. His powers to frame laws of the land are not restricted by any human
agency.

2.He is the singular law-making authority.

3.No condition, explicit or implicit, can be imposed on the sovereign, for his power is unlimited.
4.Subjects have no authority to call any explanation from the sovereign for his misdeeds. They have no right to
threaten, to punish him, to banish or depose him.

5.The sovereign is the fountain of justice and honor.

6.The sovereign has full power to declare war against any country or nation whenever he likes.

7.Sovereignty is indivisible; inalienable and unpunishable.

8.The sovereign formulates laws regarding property and taxation etc, and he has full rights to allow or disallow
freedom of speech to his subject.

9.The sovereign has to protect his people from internal disruption and external aggression for the preservation of
peace and glory of the state.

10.If the sovereign ignores the pact, he can do so, because he is no party to the contract.

Types of Sovereignty

According to Hobbes the difference of commonwealths consist in the difference of the sovereign or the person
representative of all and every one of the multitude and it is manifest, there can be put three kinds of
commonwealth:

1.If the representative is one man, the commonwealth will be known as Monarchy.

2.If the representative is composed of an assembly, the state will be called a democracy.

3.When the representative is an assembly, but only a part of it, then it is called aristocracy.

Hobbes ardently favors monarchical form of Government. There must be an important monarch to serve the end for
which the state is established. But a monarch without absolute power will utterly be failed for the attainment of his
ideals. That is why; Hobbes is ranked as one of the great champions of absolute sovereignty.

Hobbes gives a perfect and most satisfactory theory of sovereignty which is all powerful authority within the state.
It is absolute, unlimited, non-transferable and irrevocable. Hobbes excelled Machiavelli’s Prince, an evil genius in
exalting political authority. Machiavelli had made politics independent of religion but Hobbes set politics above
religion and ethics. The powers vested in sovereignty must be absolute, unlimited and all powerful.

Criticism

The political theory of Thomas Hobbes has been bitterly criticized on different grounds ever since this day.

1.The whole conception of social contract and an organized society resulting from it is unhistorical. There are no
examples in history when Hobbes’s men gathered together and signed a contract for the formation of a civil society.

2.Hobbes portrays a dismal picture of the state of nature, which is far from satisfactory. He paints a darker side and
completely ignores a brighter side of human nature. His picture reflects the evils of his man. He declares man
selfish, solitary and brutish. But human nature has two essential aspects, good and bad. He always speaks of the
badness of human nature.

3.Hobbes was of the view that the state of nature is a state of war, the war of all against all, in which the cardinal
virtues are force and fraud. How could such a man go against his own nature and suddenly enter a “state not of war,
but of peace, not of force and fraud but of right and justice.”

4.Hobbes says that there were no laws in the state of nature. This is baseless.

5.Hobbes’s sovereign appears to be the representative of the people, who follows public opinion and looks after
public welfare. This is the only one aspect in which Hobbes has recognized the limitations of his Leviathan.

6.Hobbes did not foresee the distinction between the Government and the state. While the Government of a state
might be replaced with another because of its corruption or inefficiency, the state as a reality remains intact and
does not sink into lawless condition.

7.Hobbes appears to be a mixture of anarchy and absolutism. The only remedy to control of good behavior of men
was the coercive power of the sovereign.

8.The Hobbesian system condemns the state for purely negative functions. It is sole function in the preservation of
life and maintenance of order.

9.The civil society created by Hobbes is not much of a society. It is like a flock of cattle driven by the omnipotent
Leviathan who sums up in himself the life of all and who is a universal regulator of thoughts and actions of all.

Hobbes was a materialist and rationalist to the core of his heart. His political philosophy indicated the absolute
sovereignty of whatever Government happened to be in power. He bade people render unto Caesar and unto God
whatever Caesar commanded. His state absorbed the will of all its members in matters secular and spiritual and it
was wrong to will or act against it.
John Locke

“Successful revolutions are stimulating to those who believe in them. Locke is the most fortunate of all
philosophers for, he completed his work in theoretical philosophy just at the moment when the Government
of his country fell into the hands of men who shared his political opinions. His political doctrine is embedded
in the American Constitution.” (Bertrand Russel)

John Locke was born at Wrington in north Somersetshire in 1632. His father was an attorney and land-owner of
modest means. He got his early education at home and later on he was admitted to Westminster School. In 1652, he
was sent to Oxford for higher education. At that time he was only twenty-two and entered Christ Church College
(Oxford). His university career was not very shining because the narrow discipline of the place dulled his
enthusiasm for formal studies. In 1660, he got the degree of Master of Arts. After taking the M.A. degree, Locke
was appointed as a tutor in Greek.

Locke did not like teaching profession and he started medicine. He was greatly influenced by Descartes and became
physician. Later on he became the confidential Secretary of Lord Shaftsbury, the founder of the Whig Dynasty. He
went over to the Parliamentary side and was later on made a field marshal in the rebel forces. When Charles II
became king, he was made Earl of Shaftsbury in 1672.

In 1682, Shaftsbury was charged with the crime of conspiracy. He was arrested and tried for treason. He was,
however, acquitted but was compelled to leave England. Locke also facing his persecution fled with him to Holland
and remained there until the bloodless Revolution. After the glorious revolution of 1688, he came under the
liberalizing influences that were beginning to be felt in England and he devoted his entire intellectual faculties
towards literary work and to numerous controversies arising out of his works.

Sabine attributes John Locke in these words, “his sincerity, his profound moral convictions, his genuine belief
in liberty in human rights, and in the dignity of human nature united with his moderation and good sense,
made him the ideal spokesman of the middle-class revolution.”
Locke’s father, a renowned attorney of his time exerted a considerable influence in making him zealous advocate of
liberty, equality and democracy. Locke completely discarded the Hobbes’s conception of man who depicted as
utterly selfish, irrational, solitary and brutish. He portrayed his men in the state of nature fully possessed a sense of
sociability bringing all men in togetherness of mutual benefit and for the progress of civil society. He advocated for
the elimination of the coerciveness and intimidation over the subject for peaceful progress of the state.

Bases of his Philosophy

Sensationalism:
Locke was of the view that all knowledge and beliefs come through our senses and experiences. There is nothing in
mind except what was first in the sense.

Utilitarianism:
He is one of the great pleader of utilitarianism. His conception is quite apparent from his contention that “happiness
and misery are the two great springs of human action.” He was of the view that morality is pleasure and pleasure is
only conformity to universal law.

Optimistic Conception of Human Nature:


Locke believes in the inherent goodness of human beings. He says that man is a rational, sensible and social
creature. He feels love, sympathy and tenderness towards his fellow-beings and is capable of being actuated by
altruistic motives. He wants to live in peace and harmony with others.

Rejection of Absolute Monarchy based on Divinity and Heredity:


Locke refuted emphatically the hereditary principle in kingship advocated most fervently by Filmer in his
Patriarcha and upheld by the Anglican Church. Filmer contended that political power is derived from the authority
of father over his children and that regal authority is subjection of children to parents, and since the actual monarchs
are the heirs of Adam, therefore they can demand from the citizens unflinching loyalty. Locke points out the
injustice of primogeniture (the principle by which property descends to the eldest son) which is unavoidable if
inheritance is to be the basis of monarchy. Further, Adam can have only one heir, but no one knows who he is. And
if the true heir could be discovered, would all existing monarchs put their crowns at his feet. Moreover, in case of
this discovery all kings except, at most one, would be usurpers and would have no right to demand the obedience of
their de facto subjects.
Locke’s View on Natural Rights of Man

Locke appears to be a true democrat when he says that the establishment of a commonwealth stands for the
complete security of natural rights of men. Natural rights of citizens are:

1.Right to life
2.Right to property
3.Right to liberty

“Most distinctive contribution of Locke to political theory is the doctrine of natural rights.” (Dunning)

Locke was of the view that the right of property is a most important because all other natural rights are analogous to
the right of private property. He further maintained that the right to private property existed in the state of nature
under the operation of natural law. Locke thought of natural rights as things which man brings with him from birth.
Society exists to protect them; they can be regulated only to the extent that is necessary to give them effective
protection.

“The life, liberty and estate of one person can be limited only to make effective the equality valid claims of
another person to the same rights.” (Sabine)

According to Locke, “God, who has given the world to men in common, has also given reason to make use of
it to the best advantage of life and convenience. The earth and all that is therein, is given to men for support
and comfort of their being and all the fruits it naturally produces and beasts it feeds, belongs to mankind in
common, as they are produced by the spontaneous hand of nature, and nobody has originally a private
dominion, exclusive of the rest of mankind, in any of them, as they are thus in their natural state. Whatsoever
he removes out of the state that nature has provided and left it in, he ahs mixed his labor with and joined to it
something that is his own and thereby makes it his own property.”

Locke’s Conception of Popular Sovereignty

Locke is regarded as the champion of people’s rights and a harbinger of their sacred and fundamental liberties. His
social contract did not create the irresponsible, cruel and absolutist “Leviathan” of Hobbes, but reserved the
sovereign rights to the final judge of all actions, the community. The ultimate supreme power is not vested in the
scepter of king; but it remains in the hands of the people.

Locke did not advance the idea of legal, absolute and indivisible sovereignty. The very idea of it was discarded by
him because Machiavellian and Hobbesian conception of sovereignty brings about a reign of terror for the people
who would loudly whisper for freedom and equality. He initiated the conception of popular sovereignty, which has
been firmly accepted, a best way of rule by the succeeding thinkers and the whole world own him too much,
because real and practical democracy was strongly enunciated.

Locke stood for a Government which should be subject to a number of limitations. It cannot rule with coercion and
intimidation and tax them without their will. A government which violated its limitations is not worthy of
obedience. The state is created for certain conveniences and it must justify itself by creating those conveniences.

The basic rights of the individual life, liberty and property are to be protected rather than restricted by the state. The
king has neither the divine authority nor any moral justification to over load the subject. All men are equal in the
eye of Almighty God and their basic rights must not be violated under the civil laws of the state.

Locke’s Government created by the unanimous consent of the majority should have freedom of speech, of election
and of religious worship and in order that it may be prevented from becoming too autocratic and arbitrary. This
democratic government should be run by a system of checks and balances. In other words, the government should
be divided into three main organs i-e, legislature, executive and judiciary. And of these three, the legislature should
be supreme, as is evidently available in the modern constitutions.
Montesquieu

“Of all French political philosophers in the eighteenth century (other than Rousseau) the most important was
Montesquieu. Of them all he had perhaps the clearest conception of the complexities of a social philosophy,
and yet he too was guilty of extreme over simplification.” (Sabine)

Montesquieu was born in 1689 at Chateau de la Bordeaux in a noble aristocratic family. His father was an eminent
French lawyer. At the age of twenty seven he became president of Parliament of Bordeaux, the most important of
parliaments in France except that of Paris. For a long period of twelve years he continued as chief magistrate at
Bordeaux, but he was not satisfied with the job because he was an extensive reader of literature and history and had
deep sympathetic ties with the intellectual movements of his days. At last he left presidency and moved to Paris. In
1728 he visited Austria, Hungary, Venice, Rome, Switzerland, Holland and lastly England where he remained for
above two years. During his tour, he came across the leading politicians and political thinkers in England and he
was deeply impressed by the English conception of liberty and by the English system of Government.

After his return he settled at La Brede and kept himself busy with the task of writing of political philosophy. At that
time France although under absolute control of King Louis XIV, yet was more fertile for growth of political theory
but Frenchmen were not satisfied with the political situation, as were their fellows across the channel.

Important works of Montesquieu are:

1.The Persian Letter: He published these letters in 1721. it embodied a brilliant satire on the existing political,
religious and social institutions in France.

2.Reflections and the causes of the Greatness and Decline of the Romans. This book was published in 1734.

3.The Spirit of Law published in 1748. This book won a great fame and immortality for Montesquieu because it
came out after fourteen year unremitting labor and he made it a masterpiece for all ages.

Montesquieu’s doctrine of Separation of Powers

Montesquieu expounds his theory of separation of powers to set forth the governmental organization in order to
safeguard the political liberty. He believed that the separation of powers among the different organs of the
government is the best safeguard against tyranny. He pleads that each power must be exercised by a separate organ
and a system of checks and balances should thus be established for solidarity and harmony of the state.

The theory of separation of powers among Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government was best
realized in the British Constitution. He came to realize that for maintaining liberty, the separation of powers was
absolutely essential. Montesquieu did not rely upon observation. Locke and Harrington had taught him what to
expect and for the rest he adopted the myth which was current among the English themselves. Bolingbroke said,
“It is by this mixture of monarchial, aristocratically and democratically power blended together in one
system and by these three estates balancing one another, that our free constitution of Government has been
preserved so long inviolate.”

According to Montesquieu there are three kinds of power:

1.By virtue of the legislative power, the prince or magistrate exerts temporary or permanent laws and amends or
abrogates those laws, which are contrary to the will of the subject.

2.By virtue of the executive powers, he makes peace or war, sends or receives Ambassadors, establish the public
security and provide protection against invasions.

3.By virtue of the judiciary powers, he is vested with the powers to punish criminals and also to safeguard the life
and property of the individuals.

When the executive and legislative are united in the same person, there can be no liberty because apprehensions
may arise. If the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and the executive then again there will be no
liberty. When it is combined with the legislative, the existence and liberty of people would be exposed to arbitrary
rule. When it is combined with executive organ, then there will be violence and oppression in the capacity of a
mortal God.

It is quite obvious from all above cited discussion, that the separation of powers among the three organs of
governments fully ensures liberty and freedom, by imposing healthy checks on the despotism of the government
bureaucrats. Montesquieu was of the view that liberty is an indispensable fundamental for human progress and
glory. Everyone is born to enjoy it without any distinction of color, creed and religion.

Criticism:

1.Montesquieu’s study of English constitution is not very correct until this day; there is no full separation of powers
between different governmental agencies. There the House of Lords is a legislative as well as a judicial body. The
Lord Chancellor partakes of all the three functions of government.

2.If all the branches are made separate and independent of each other, each branch will endeavor to safeguard its
interests and possibly may jeopardize other’s interest.

3.Perfect separate power in the functions of the government is impossible.

4.Mill was of the view “the separation of powers will result in a clash between the three different organs of
the government because each one will take interest only in its own powers.”

In spite of all inconsistencies in the theory of separation of powers, it too wielded a considerable influence in
Pakistan, France and America. Montesquieu is placed in the first rank of those distinguished thinkers who in the
eighteenth century, held high standard of idealism in all that pertains to liberty.
Montesquieu’s views on Forms of Government

The classification of government of Montesquieu is base partly on the number of those who hold political power
and partly on the manner in which that power is exercised. He gives more importance to the principle on which
government is based than to its nature. He assigned a particular basic principle to every form of government. The
principle of democracy was virtue, of an aristocracy virtue-cum-moderation, of monarchy honor while that of
despotism was fear. He enunciated the dangers attending each form of government if it lost its basic principle.

Montesquieu forms the government into three types:

1)Republic:
Montesquieu was of the view “A republican government is that in which the body or only a part of the people, is
possessed of the supreme power.” To him, when in a republic, the body of the people is possessed of the supreme
power it is called democracy. Sovereignty rests with the people in democracy. In Republics, there can be no
exercise of sovereignty but by the votes of the people and these votes express their own will.

2)Monarchies:
Montesquieu remarks that monarchial government is that in which a single person governs the state by fixed and
established laws. He was of the view that the most intermediate power is that of nobility. This in some measure
seems to be essential to a monarchy, whose fundamental maxim is no nobility no monarch, but there may be
despotic process.

3)Despotism:
A despotic government is that in which a single person directs all functions of the government with his own
capricious will, without any law and without fixed rules. His own words become laws of the land and complete
subordination to these laws a expedient.

Each of the form is associated with its peculiar principle:

a) Democracy is based upon political virtue


b) Aristocracy is based upon moderation
c) Monarchy is based upon honor
d) Despotism is based upon fear and oppression
Relation between Forms of Government and religion & Size of State:

Montesquieu was of the view that certain religions had a definite affinity for certain types of governments. Islam
goes well with Democratic Republican form of government, wherein fundamentals of religion i-e., equality,
fraternity and freedom are deeply inculcated and practiced for the security of mankind and glory of the state.
Roman Catholicism is closely affiliated with monarchial form of government with arbitrary rule and Protestantism
even in this modern age is deeply attached with despotism and cruel expansionism.

Republican form of government is possible only in a state of small size; monarchy suited the moderate-sized state
while a big country or an empire must have despotic government. Real democracy is possible only ion small city-
state. France of Montesquieu’s time was too large for a republic form of government, Monarchy would suit her best.
Montesquieu declared monarchy, a worst form of government and he unlike Machiavelli discarded the doctrine of
aggrandizement and expansion.

Criticism:

1.It is quite wrong to assume, as Montesquieu does, that democracy and aristocracy are sub-types of republican
form.

2.It is a quite unfair to place despotic government at par with monarchial and republican forms. Despotic state is not
at all state because it is established by the absence of established law, and hence it is a lawless state, which should
not be included in the plan at all.

3.Montesquieu’s scheme creates distinction between the republican and monarchic form based upon the number of
persons who possess the supreme power, the distinction between the monarchic and despotic types depends upon
the way in which the power of governments are to be exercised.

Montesquieu as the Aristotle of 18th Century

1.Montesquieu follows the inductive and historical methods of Aristotle and like him, takes keen interest in the
practical political activities.

2.Like Aristotle, Montesquieu too pays his attention on the influence of physical environment on the life of man and
social institutions.

3.Montesquieu steps into the shoes of Aristotle, when he recognizes basic types of government i-e, republican,
monarchial and despotic.

4.Montesquieu closely follows Aristotle when he says that the fundamental types of political constitutions are fixed
once and for all but they are different to some extent under the impact of the local conditions.

5.Montesquieu’s observation that the law of a society gives to its unique and particular character, has its parallel in
Aristotle’s statement that the constitution of a state determines the very life and character of its people, if there
occurs a change in the constitution, the state itself becomes altogether a different state.
Jean Jacques Rousseau

“Rousseau was the father of the romantic movement, the imitator of system of thought which infer non-
human fact from human emotions and the inventor of the political philosophy of pseudo-democratic
dictatorship as opposed to traditional absolute monarchs. Hitler was the outcome of Rousseau.” (Bertrand
Russel)

Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712 at Geneva of parents of French Protestant ancestry, in a middle class family.
His father, Isaac, was a skilled watchmaker, but abandoned this profession to become a dancing master. Rousseau
left school at the age of 12, learnt various crafts but adopted none. He also worked as an apprentice under a cruel
engraver. He filled with a wonder lust that was never to be satisfied. Restless, impulsive, unstable he embraced the
career of a vagabond as others might enter upon a profession and thereafter for twenty years he led the life of a
vagabond wandering in different places. In 1742, he gravely mediated to lead a regulated life, went to Paris and
tried his luck at different schemes, the opera, the theatre but his efforts ended in fiasco. Then he opened a small
hotel.

The year of 1749 was a turning point in his life, chance brought Rousseau fame and immortality. The Academy of
Dijon announced a prize for the best essay on the subject “Has the progress of sciences and arts contributed to
corrupt and purify morals”. He thought a strong plea that progresses of sciences and arts had tended to degrade
human morality. Rousseau depicted in the essay, an early state of society in which all men lived under conditions of
simplicity and innocence, and traced the purging evils of society emanated from the artificialities introduced by
civilization. He won the prize. Hearn Shaw remarked, “it created a great sensation in the artificial society of the
Age of Reason. It was the first ramble of the Revolution.”

The publication of his book “Social Contract” aroused the indignation of the French Government, which ordered
his arrest. He escaped to Geneva, where the Democratic Council burned his book and threatened his life. He took
refuge in Germany, where an angry mob almost strangulated him. He fled to England where only one man, Hume,
took him into his affection. By this time, however, Rousseau’s suffering had greatly perturbed his brain and he was
tormented by a prosecution mania. He suspected that Hume was plotting to poison him. He thought that “Everyone
hurts me because of my love for mankind.” Finally his fear of being murdered drove him to commit suicide.

Hearn Shaw said, “Rousseau led a life of fugitive for sixteen years and he drove through a period of
deepening gloom, failing health, broken spirit, haunting terrors, paralyzing illusions and accumulating
despair.”

Rousseau’s State of Nature

“Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains. Many a one believes himself the master of others, and yet
he is greater slave than they. How has this change come about? I do not know. What can render it legitimate?
I believe that I can settle this question.” (Rousseau)

Man is born free only in the sense that freedom is his inborn right; it is the necessary condition for the development
of the various potentialities of human nature. We can say that he is born for freedom that he ought to be free. The
second part of the first sentence that he is everywhere in chains imply that customs and conventions of society and
state regulations imposer upon him certain artificial and unnecessary restraints which arrest the development of his
personality.

Rousseau, a philosopher of the heart rather than of the head, presented his State of Nature to be an earthly paradise
though he himself confessed that the conception of the State of Nature was quite hypothetical. As Rousseau says,
“A state which exists no longer, perhaps never existed, probably never will exist and of which none the less it
is necessary to have just idea in order to judge well our present state.” He always maintained that the natural
state was also better than the social state. For, in it, the natural man, or the noble savage, lived a solitary, happy and
carefree life of the brute was independent, contented and self-sufficing.

In short, Rousseau’s man was a non-social being unknown to good or evil or the coming death. Thus the noble
savage was in the state of paradise, everyone being equal to the other. Man’s life in the state of nature was regulated
not by reason but by the feelings of self-preservation and hatred towards incalculable massacre and incredible
violence. According to Rousseau, “primitive man was near animal than man; he lived an isolated and solitary
life having no ties and obligations. He was guided by two sentiments self-interest and pity, and having no oral
obligation with other men he could not be good or bad, virtuous or vicious. He led a solitary life completely
devoid of language and wandered about the primeval forests begetting his offspring by the way, hunting for
his food, and concerned only with the satisfaction of physical needs. In a word, the natural man was neither
happy nor unhappy.”

But with the appearance of fixed homes, family and property, the knell of human equality was sounded. But even
this primitive society was tolerable. The least subjects to revolutions, the best for man. Only when the serpent
entered into the society in the form of private property, was the life of man changed from prosperity to adversity.

Rousseau was of the view “the first man having enclosed a piece of land he thought himself of saying this is
mine and found people simple enough to believe him the real founder of social inequality and injustice.” The
institution of private property created a sense of jealousy and struggle, converted usurpation into an acknowledged
right and led to the promotion of society. He became subject to violence, bloodshed, crimes against property and
person and all the evils of society and civilization including slavery. Thus the life of man became pitiable, miserable
and intolerable. As Rousseau says, “the problem is to find a form of association which will defend and protect
with the whole common force the person and goods of each associate and in which each while uniting himself
with all, may still obey himself alone and remain as free as before.”
Rousseau’s General Will

“The development of the theory of the general will in the Social Contract was involved in paradoxes, partly
because of cloudiness of Rousseau’s ideas but partly; it seems, because he had a rhetorician’s liking for
paradox. Manifestly, in view of his criticism of the natural man, he ought to have avoided the notion of
contract altogether as both meaningless and misleading.” (Sabine)

The will of each individual merged into a General Will, which is the cardinal pillar in the Rousseau’s philosophy,
has aroused keen controversy and has been subjected to severe criticism. It has been remarked by Bertrand Russell
that the doctrines enshrined in his Social Contract, “though they pay lip service to democracy, tend to the
justification of the totalitarian state.”

Dr. McDoughall defines General Will as “The General Will is conceived as coming to be when every individual
in a group or society has a conception or idea of the group as a whole and identifies his good with the good of
that whole.”

Rousseau explains that by the free act of those who enter into an agreement, all their powers and rights vested in the
community and their respective wills are superseded by the General Will. He was of the view that man possesses
two kinds of wills:

1. Actual Will:
It is related to the will of the individuals. It is irrational will of man. This Will makes self-confined and self
centered.

2. Real Will:
It is rational will of the individual. It always aims at general welfare of the society. It leads to eternal decision
imparting self-satisfaction to the individual. It is based upon reason and rationality.

Rousseau’s whole arguments depended upon the fact that a community of citizens is unique with its members, they
neither make it nor have rights against it.

Rousseau said, “The social order is a sacred right which is the basis of all other rights. The problem is to find
a form of association which will defend and protect with the whole common force the person and goods of
each associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as
free as before. Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the
General Will, and in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.”

Rousseau clearly distinguishes the General Will from will of the majority and the minority. The General Will may
or may not coincide with any of these Wills; it may sometimes be coincident with the Will of an individual.

Characteristics of the General Will:

1. Unity:
It is not self-contradictory. It is indivisible, because if it were divided it would not remain General Will but would
become Sectional Will.

2. Unlimited:
It is unlimited. Rousseau assigns absolute powers to his sovereign by following the Hobbes’s line of action.

3. Inalienable:
The General Will and sovereignty are inalienable and undetectable.

4. Un-representable:
The General Will cannot be represented. That is why Rousseau laid the foundation of direct democracy. The
General Will can conveniently be realized in a small city state where the population can assemble and pass laws for
their interest. It does not admit of representative democracy.

W. T. Jones appreciated Rousseau’s theory in these words, “The notion of the General Will is not only the most
central concept of Rousseau’s theory, it is also the most original, the most interesting, and historically the
most important contribution which he made to political theory.”

Criticism:

1. Rousseau’s theory of General Will is incomplete and vague.

2. It is in actual practice difficult to distinguish the General Will from the Will of all. The General Will is not the
unanimous Will of the whole people because that might be the Will of all. General Will has its own merits and
demerits.

3. Rousseau’s belief that an individual has his actual and real Wills at the same time is quite wrong. An individual’s
Will is a corporate thing, one complete whole, incapable of any division.

4. He was of the view that the General Will neglects the force of moral law which dictates to anyone as to what is
just and unjust.

5. There arises a sort of conflict between the common interest and the interest of the individual. The General Will
assigns a very high place to the state and the individual will have to sacrifices his interest over the interest of the
state.

6. Rousseau’s concept of General Will is rather abstract and narrow. In actual practice, it is nothing if it does not
mean the Will of the majority.

7. It pre-supposes common interests, which is difficult to define or determine. These interests grow out of organic
relations between members of a community and are hardly possible in the multinational states of today with their
conflicting ideals and interests.

8. This theory is not applicable to the bigger state in population and territory, and does not admit of representative
government.

9. It is rarely and for a short time that general will is actually realized. Self-consciousness can exist only at periods
of great crisis in the life of a nation, when the whole society is in danger.

10. Where we are determined to decide what are the visible manifestation of this Will, Rousseau leaves us in the
realm of darkness. He stresses that General Will always tends to the public advantage and that is infallible. But it
does not follow that the deliberations of the people are equally correct.
Jeremy Bentham

“Bentham was the first among modern philosophers to place women upon a political equality with men. In
Plato’s Republic this equality was to be fully recognized. But after Plato it was completely forgotten for over
two thousand years.” (H. Thomas)

Introduction:
Jeremy Bentham was the intellectual leader and the real founder of English utilitarianism; whose deep interest in
public affairs covered the period from the American Revolution to the Reform Bill of 1832. He was born in a rich
lawyer’s family in 1748 in London. From the very childhood, Bentham was scholarly and pedantic. He learnt Latin
when he was only three years old. He also learnt Greek and French and later on he devoted to the study of
Jurisprudence and legal philosophy. He received the degree of graduation at the age of fifteen from Queen’s College
Oxford. He had an instinctive interest in science and a distinctive talent for introspective psychology. From his
youth he showed a passionate devotion to social welfare, identifying himself in imagination and determining to
apply to the social sciences the methods that were being worked out in the natural science.

In 1763 Bentham entered Lincoln’s Inn to begin the study which was to be his life-long pursuit. In 1772 after
having studied law, he entered the bar for practice. As he grew older, his interests widened and his opinions became
more subversive. His supreme mission was to reconstruct the entire legal system on healthier lines.

At the time of his death, he was at the zenith of fame and glory because of his unparalleled contribution in the
subject of jurisprudence and legal philosophy. After his death, Doyle says, “He was venerated by a group of
disciples, as a Patriarch, a spiritual Leader, almost a God with James Mill as his St. Paul.”

Jeremy Bentham was a prolific writer and he collected works comprised of twenty-two volumes. His writings cover
a wide range of interest including ethics, theology, psychology, logic, economics, penology etc. he wrote following
most important books:

1. Fragments of Government
2. A Defence of Usury
3. Discourse on Civil and Penal Legislation
4. Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
5. A Treatise on Judicial Evidence
6. A Theory of Punishments and Rewards
7. Essay on Political Tactics

Importance of Bentham in
History of Political Thought
Bentham holds a distinctive place in the history of political thought. He was more a legal reformer and jurist rather
than a political philosopher. He had nothing original in his political doctrine and also he did not create new ideas.
Bentham was the first to establish the utilitarian school of thought. Maxey said, “Here was a doctrine to rock the
foundations of all accredited political theory. With ruthless logic he brushed aside the ancient varieties of
both radical and conservative thought; had erased all distinction in principle between free and despotic
politics: had put it down that divine, feudal right, historical right, natural right and constitutional right
equally and like were rubbish and nonsense. There was no right to rule and no right to be free, there was
only the fact of power and the circumstances which made that power a fact.”

Influence of Utilitarianism:
Utilitarianism, a British gift to political philosophy, represented a British reaction against the value generalities
about mutual rights and social contract and the mystic idealism of the German political thinkers. It brought political
theory back from the abstractions of the Age of Reform to the level of concrete realities. The utilitarian
philosophers particularly Bentham and Austin rendered valuable service to political thought. They were the thinkers
who viewed society not from the ivory tower of isolation but from close participation. They were not idealistic, they
were not utopian, they were not visionary and their philosophy was not transcendental. They built a new theory of
government according to which government was based not on contract but on the habit of obedience of utility.

Achievements of Bentham:
Bentham was a true practical reformer and a great smasher of political evils in his age. He took keen interest in the
political life of his country. Bentham and his followers are mainly responsible for the parliamentary reforms in
England during the nineteenth century like the Municipal Reform Act of 1835. The following reforms are also due
to Bentham’s suggestion:

1. Reform of law and legal procedure


2. University education became universal
3. Establishment of trade union

His theory of law established the point of view of analytic jurisprudence, which was almost the only system of the
subject generally known to English and American lawyers throughout the nineteenth century.

Bentham contributed, sometimes on the request, sometimes as volunteer to the revision of the legal codes of many
countries. In 1811 he made a formal proposal to President Madison to draw up a scientific code of law for the USA.
Later he made a similar offer to the Czar of Russia and to the Governor of Pennsylvania, and in 1822 he appealed to
“all nations professing opinions.” His confidence in his ability to create a system of laws guaranteed to promote the
greatest good of greatest number was unbounded.

Bentham’s writings became popular in many countries. His doctrines were very popular in Spain, Russia, and
Iberian Peninsula and in several parts of South America. His ideas were used by the leaders of the national
movements that defeated the Holy Alliance and created new nations on the ruins of the Spanish and Turkish
Empires. Such was the tremendous influence which Bentham exercised in the History of Political Thought.
Bentham’s Views on Rights and Duties

Bentham discarded natural rights to the individuals. But he did not kill the concept of natural rights. Bentham
totally denied the existence of natural law, holding that law is the expression of the sovereign will in the shape of a
command. This sovereign was absolute and omnipotent against which individuals possessed no natural rights nor
did they have any legal right to show resistance against it.
Bentham was a passionate champion for the existence of freedom and equality but he would not base them natural
law. He supported for the existence of an authority for the purpose to enforce rights by imposing penalties in case of
violation. Neither law of nature or natural rights could impose limitations on the unlimited absolute powers of
sovereign authority. The only conceivable imposition to the authority could possibly be made by effective resistance
by the determined subjects.

It is queer to note that, though Bentham denied natural rights, yet he could not disregard the right of private
property. He advocated it for its preservation on the basis of general utility. The happiness of the individual
depended upon security, subsistence, abundance and equality. Security includes liberty, safety and property of the
individual. Thus the legal reformer recognizes the right of property. He prefers security to liberty.

Kinds of Rights:

1. Legal Rights:
A vivid and intelligible expression means a faculty of action sanctioned by the will of a supreme law-maker in a
political society.

2. Moral Rights:
It means vivid and intelligible expression than the other. Its sanction is the opinion or feeling of a group of persons
who cannot be precisely identified, but who nevertheless are able to make their collective or over age will
unmistakably manifest.

3. Natural Rights:
It is a term commonly used without any definite meaning or any form of usefulness. Nature is a vague and
indefinite entity. It may indeed be used as synonymous with God. In any other sense it denotes something that
cannot be thought as endowed with will, and is incapable of making law. “Natural Rights” is a phrase that can
contribute only confusion in a national system of political science.

Kinds of Duties:

According to Bentham, duties of following kinds:

1. Political Duty:
It is determined by the penalty which a definitely known person i.e., a political superior will inflict for the violation
of certain rights.

2. Religious Duty:
It is determined by the punishment to be inflicted by a definitely known being i-e the Creator.

3. Moral Duty:
It depends upon circumstances hardly certain and definite enough to be called punishment, yet such as to create an
unpleasant state of mind in the person concerned, by putting in disagreeable relations with that infinite body of
individuals known as the community in general.

Bentham denied natural rights and natural law, yet he carried both these things in his political philosophy. Sabine
said, “The liberal elements in Bentham’s Philosophy resided largely in its tacit premises. When he observed
that one man is worth just the same as another man or that in calculating the greatest happiness, each person
is ‘to count for one and no one more than one,’ he was obviously borrowing the principle of equality from
natural law.”
Bentham’s Views on Sovereignty and Government

Bentham empowered the sovereign with unlimited powers to legislate all and everything. The supreme government
authority, though not infinite must unavoidably, be allowed to infinite unless limited by express convention. The
only possible restraint on the sovereign authority is his own anticipation of popular resistance, based upon popular
interests. Bentham firmly believed in the written constitutions as guarantees of rational governments, but he was
against any bill of rights, limitations upon the powers to amend the constitution and all other devices for restraining
the supreme authority and regarded them unsound in theory and worthless in practice. He said that rights emanated
from the supreme authority of the state, i-e, the sovereign. The sovereign was not bound to respect any individual
rights. A government was liberal and despotic according to the arrangement of distribution and application of
supreme power.

Rights of Resistance:
Bentham thought that a subject had no legal right to show resistance or revolt against sovereign. Their legal duty is
unconditioned obedience to the sovereign. But a subject has a moral right and a moral duty to resist his sovereign if
the utility of resistance were greater than the evil of resistance. The exercise of his unlimited powers by the
sovereign would depend on considerations of utility.

Government:
Bentham believed that in the long run a representative democracy was a more suitable form of government than any
other to secure the greatest happiness of the greatest number. The main thing is that the government should be an
agency of good, i-e, of happiness and not of evil. The extension, duration and intensity of government power should
be properly restricted and de-limited with a view to secure the maximum of happiness and pleasures.

Bentham seems reluctant to agree with Blackstone’s characterization of the British constitution as perfect, and
suggested some amendments to it. He was for the promulgation of universal manhood suffrage, annual parliaments
and voting by ballot. He disliked oth the monarchy and the House of Lords in Britain. A republican government was
best because it ensured efficiency, economy and supremacy of the people and brought about the greatest good of the
greatest number on the basis of the identity of interests between the ruler and the ruled. Democratic constitution is
presented by him.

Theory of Punishment:
Bentham held that punishment should be preventive and corrective rather than coercive and retaliatory. It should be
calculated to prevent the spread of evil and to secure the extension of good. Punishment must not be inflicted where
it was ineffective, groundless, needless or unprofitable. It should be obviously justifiable and proportionate to the
offence committed but it must be sufficient to secure its ends. It ought to be able to prevent the offender from
repeating the offence. It should be individualized, qualitatively and quantitatively, to suit the individual offender.
The basic principles of punishment are:

1. Equable
2. Exemplary
3. Frugal of Pain
4. Remissible
5. Compensatory
6. Reformatory
7. Popular
8. Certain and not severe

According to Bentham, the only valid test of the adequacy of a punishment was its ability to secure public welfare.
He believed that the English criminal law was inhuman. He was in favor of the reform of the criminal and the
prisons and suggested the building of his moral Panopticon, a wheel-shaped building for the housing and proper
observation of the criminals. He had a great faith in education as he wanted to bring about adult franchise, a
responsible executive, universal education and a representative parliament.
John Stuart Mill

“If the caliber of writers is to be judged by their effect on policy, Mill must rank high. As logician, economist
and political philosopher he was regarded as a prophet in his own age.” (John Bowle)

Introduction:
John Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806 in London. He was the eldest son of his father James Mill who was the
disciple of Bentham. J. S. Mill started the learning of Greek language at the age of three and then Latin at the age of
eight. As a young boy of twelve, he had studied the philosophy of some of the great philosophers, such as Plato,
Herodotus, Homer, Aristotle and Thucydides. He also learned French language and acquired a great fluency.

Mill was trained by his father and by John Austin. He was greatly influenced by Bentham’s utilitarian philosophy
and his programmes for reformation. But with the passage pf time, many of the evils against which the early
utilitarian had been working hard, had ceased to exist and Benthamism began yielding before other philosophic
systems. The biological speculations of Darwin and Spencer and the sociological researches of Auguste Comte
stirred the passionate seekers of learning and knowledge with the initiation of new currents of thought and Mill was
also influenced by them. He modified Bentham from ethical, sociological, psychological, economic and political
points of views.

The year of 1856 was a year of tribulations and chaos on account of Indian freedom fighters and formidable
aggressions of foreign masters. History of India was written with Indian blood and in this crucial period of life and
death, Mill served the East India Company as an Examiner of Indian Correspondence. In 1858 he retired. Then he
became the radical member of the Parliament and remained almost in the limbo of oblivion. Mill died on 8th May,
1873 at Avignon.

He wrote following books:

1. A system of Logic
2. Some unsettled questions in Political Economy
3. Essay on Liberty
4. Consideration on Re-tentative Government
5. Utilitarianism
6. Thoughts on Parliamentary reforms
7. Subjection of Women
8. Principles of Political Economy
9. On the improvement of Administration of India during the last 30 Years (1858)

Importance of J. S. Mill in the History of Political Thought

J. S. Mill sought after vivid ideas with the ardency of a mystic, the patience and arduous industry of a man of
science. He encountered opponents with magnanimity and generosity. In praise of his immortal ideas which will
ever echo in the corridors of time, it has been said, “No calculus can integrate the innumerable pulses of
knowledge and of thought that he had made to vibrate in the minds of generation.”

Mill was the great prophet of sane Individualism or Liberalism. He insisted upon the importance of human progress
in its richest variety. He was one of the stoutest champions of individual liberty. When we turn the pages of
antiquity, Plato distinctively appears to be the first feminist, passionately advocating the cause of women to take
part in the functions of the government. J. S. Mill too was a great feminist and he practically pleaded their causes in
the parliament. He firmly believed for equality of women for the benefit and uplift of the state. Mill’s impact of
Feminism obviously appeared in the early 20th century when the Feminist Movement fought for women freedom
for participating in the functions of the state.

Mill was one of the foremost individualists of all times. He ranked with Rousseau, Jefferson and Milton as an
ardent crusader of individual liberty. He humanized utilitarian philosophy. He was a staunch enemy of despotism
and monocracy and a great supporter of democracy. He combined political liberalism with economic socialism and
approval of a common ownership in the raw materials of the globe and an equal participation of all in the benefits
of the combined labor. Mill’s political philosophy contains following important facts:

1. His theory of liberty was his most important contribution to the history of political philosophy.

2. He favored democracy as the best form of government as a result of adult franchise.

3. He supported universal suffrage granting the right of voting to women also, with a system of proportional system.

4. He opposed the secret ballot because it led to favoritism and corruption and vigorously proposed for open ballot
system.

5. He recommended a second chamber. He believed that the final legislative authority should rest with the House of
Commons, but at the same time he assigned the task of drafting bills, before they come to the parliament for
consideration to the House of Lords.

6. Mill’s method was analytic. He believed that study of history combined with a knowledge of human nature and a
careful analysis of political phenomenon would result in a gauging of tendencies of great value to legislators and
statesmen.

7. Bentham thought of quantitative pleasures. Mill believed in qualitative pleasures. He drew a distinction between
several kinds of pleasures, considering some as higher while others as lower.

Prof. Sabine said, “Mill’s ethics was important for liberalism because in effect it abandoned egoism, assumed
that social welfare is a matter of concern to all men of goodwill, and regarded freedom, integrity, self-respect
and personal distinction as intrinsic goods apart from their contribution to happiness.”
Mill’s Views on Individual Liberty

J. S. Mill is universally regarded as a passionate advocate of liberty. He vigorously whispered for imparting great
importance to individual liberty and emphasized that governmental interference in individual activity should e
reduced to the minimum. In the middle of the 19th century, due to the utilitarian reforms, the scope of
administrative activities increased. Parliament became the supreme and unchallenged law-making authority, who
enacted such laws which vividly obstructed individual liberty. With the imposition of increasing state regulations,
human activities were suffocated and he firmly believed that liberty was a prime factor for the development of the
society. At that time, policy of Laissez fair was being abandoned in favor of greater regulations by the state. The
people became politically conscious and demanded universal suffrage.

When Mill wrote, utilitarian liberalism was generally accepted in England. The democratic efforts made by the
earlier utilitarian had been largely successful and political power had been extended to a considerable proportion of
the population. A large number of old evils and inequalities had been removed. In this process some of the dangers
of democracy became visible, and the tendency toward state centralization led political theory to the scope of state
activities and to the liberty of the individual. The leader in the intellectual life of the period was J. S. Mill.

Mill’s essay on liberty which equals in eminence to Milton’s Aeropagitica was a strong advocacy for the freedom of
thought and expression with Miltonian favor against legislative interference as well as against the pressure of the
public opinion. He recognized the necessity to the mental well-being of mankind of freedom of opinion and
freedom of expression of opinion. The limitations of the power of government over individuals lose none of its
importance when the holders of power are regularly accountable to the community. In political speculations the
tyranny of the majority is now generally included among the evils against which society requires to be on its guard.

Mill apprehended that the growth of democracy and the increasing legislative powers of the state tended to reduce
individuals to a common type and to swamp them in the tyranny of collectivism. He believed that social progress
could not be achieved if each and every individual is imparted with fuller opportunity for free development of his
personality. Mill favored freedom of thought, speech and action. He believed in toleration of opinions and
unhampered freedom of discussion. He had confidence that truth would definitely survive in the struggle of ideas.

Freedom of the Individual:


Originality in conduct and thought and individuality are essentially basic features efforting towards social welfare.
When individuality is quelled by the law of a monarch or an aristocrat, the evil of it may be counteracted by the
custom of the masses, but when the masses make the law of repression, custom unites with legislation to confirm
the evil. Individual development enriches the world by a variety of characters. But he imposes two limitations on
this liberty:

1. The individual was not at liberty to do any harm to his fellow beings.

2. He must share labors and sacrifices to secure the society or individuals against harm.

Mill pleads for certain freedoms for the individual without which he cannot develop his personality properly. These
are:

a. Freedom of conscience
b. Liberty of thought and of its expression in speech and writing
c. Liberty of pursuits and tastes
d. Liberty of association
e. Liberty to adopt his own profession in life
f. Liberty of religion and morals

Mill laid great stress on liberty of thought and expression. Mill’s theory of liberty of the individual is based upon
three essential elements:

1. A strong plea for the importance of impulse and desire in the individual and letting the individual follow his own
impulses in actions which concern him alone.

2. Insistence on the view that spontaneity and individuality are essential elements in individual and social welfare.

3. Revolt against the tyranny of custom, tradition or public opinion which might hinder the expression and
development of individuality.

Important points of Mill’s Individual Liberty:

1. Mill advocated that individual is sovereign over his body and mind. He must be left free in all actions that
concern himself alone. And society has no right to impose any restraint over the individual because restraints as
such in an evil and retards the progress of the individuals.

2. Mill assumed that the activities of every individual are either self-regarding or other-regarding. In the sphere of
self-regarding activities may be included matters which affect the agent only, having no concern with others e.g.
gambling, drinking etc.

3. Mill believed in the individualistic or atomistic conception of society. He says that individual is not responsible
to society for his actions in so far as they concern the interest of himself and do no affect others.

4. Mill vigorously advocated for absolute and unfettered freedom of thought and expression.

5. The freedom of action and association was to be limited by the condition that none should jeopardize other’s
rights and freedom.

Criticism:
Mill was bitterly criticized because of his certain inconsistencies on the doctrine of liberty at the hands of Earnest
Barker who said, “Mill was the prophet of an empty liberty and an abstract individual.”

Mill’s theory was criticized on the following ground:

1. Mill assumed that the individual is sovereign over his body and mind. He should be left free to act as he wished
and society cannot impose any limitation on his freedom. The soundness of this statement may be doubted. The
sovereignty of individual over himself is not a self-evident proposition. As Mill himself admits, “there can be
circumstances under which it may become legitimate for others to intervene in a purely personal matter, e.g,
when one is about to commit suicide, surely no one will call it an attack upon one’s liberty.”

2. The bifurcation of human actions into two-self regarding and other regarding as made by Mill is quite
impracticable. No individual is an island in himself. There is very little that one can do which does not affect other
person. It is but natural and each action of individual will definitely affect the others. Therefore it is difficult to set
apart a sphere of conduct which should be regarded exclusively the affair of the individual concerned.
Karl Marx

“With Marx, socialism became international or cosmopolitan n scope in contrast to the association or
national industrialism of his predecessors.” (R. G. Gettell)

Introduction:
Karl Marx born in a prosperous family became a victim of misfortunes, a prey of perpetual crushing poverty and a
painfully sensitive to see the incredible sufferings of humanity because of economic inequality, social disparity,
incalculable violence and mal-treatment towards laborers at the hands of feudal lords and industrialists. He was
born at Treves in Prussia on 5th May, 1818. His aristocratic Jewish parents embraced Christianity when Karl Marx
was only a child. At the age of 17, he became a law student at Bonn University. In 1826, he left for the University
of Berlin. In 1843, he married Jenny, a member of petty nobility who remained a faithful counterpart throughout his
life.

In 1841, Karl Marx got his degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Jena on the tropic of “The
Difference between the Natural Philosophy of Democratus and Epicurus.” He mixed with the revolutionaries and
his radical thinking made him suspicious which created obstacle in the security of employment as a university
teacher. Then he entered into the field of journalism. Karl Marx studied Hegel very thoroughly and noted basic
fallacies in his idealistic philosophy.
In early 1845, Karl Marx left Paris for Brussels. But before he left France, he got an ever-lasting friendship with
Friedrich Engel which brought many changes in his life. Marx-Engel collaboration was one of the history’s most
unique prominent and enduring collaboration. Friedrich Engel became the friend, disciple and passionate seeker of
knowledge and a warm partner. In the summer of 1845, Friedrich took Karl Marx to England and there he was
introduced to the founders of the “German Workers Educational Union” that had recently started in London. After
remaining for sometime in London, he again came back to Brussels. Marx had to flee from one country to another
on account of his conspiratorial activities. Then he steeled down in London till his death.

“England has often been called the mother of Exiles”, but for Karl Marx, it became the dwelling place of miseries
and misfortunes. He experienced great distress and poverty along with his big family. In spite of lot of misfortunes
and hardships, Karl Marx made endeavors relentlessly to unchain the working classes from the bondage of
capitalism. Karl Marx worked round the clock in the British Museum for developing the economic theories of
capital. Karl Marx wrote many pamphlets defending himself and severely criticizing his opponents. He died as a
wounded soul on March 14, 1883. He led a life of full of pangs and despondency and faced the hardships of
worldly agency with determination, courage and perseverance. In a speech over his grave in High ate Cemetery,
Friedrich Engel declared that “his name and works will live on through the centuries.”

Karl Marx was a great writer and will ever live on the pages of existence. He wrote the following master works:

1. Communist Manifesto immortalized Karl Marx. He wrote this with the assistance and help of his faithful friend
Friedrich Engel. This is considered the Bible of the Communism all over the world.
2. Das Kapital is considered as the foundation stone of communism.
3. Poverty of Philosophy
4. A Contribution to the critique of Political Economy
5. The Holy Family
6. Revolution and Counter Revolution

Political Philosophy of Karl Marx

Karl Marx is rightly called the Father of Modern Communism. The theory of communism owes its birth to Karl
Marx and Friedrich Engel. According to the theory of communism, the only practical thing was to acquire mastery
over the governing laws of society. Apart from this, Karl Marx and Engel wanted to know the causes of economic
changes in human society. They also wanted to explore what further changes are required. They concluded that the
changes in human society were not the least accidental like changes in external nature. They worked out a scientific
theory of society based on the actual experience of men. Karl Marx applied this theory to the society in which he
lived mainly Capitalist Britain. He was of the opinion that it was quite impossible to separate his economic theories
from historical and social theories. Marx attacked the existing capitalist institutions. He did not believe in the
essential goodness of man. He conceived of a man more as an economic as a political animal.

Karl Marx borrowed from Hegel the apparatus of Dialectics but substituted matter of Hegelian idea. He built his
concept of dialectic materialism by interpreting Hegel’s World Spirit as an economic force. Karl Marx held the view
that the meaning of history lay in the interpretation of material world. Karl Marx is correctly divisible into three
portions:

1. A purely philosophical section on dialectics


2. Pure economics
3. Historical materialism

Hegel’s influence over Karl Marx:


Karl Marx remains incomplete without the study of Hegel. It is true that Karl Marx rejected the substance of
Hegel’s political philosophy and it is a stark reality in history that Karl Marx adopted the dialectical method
developed by Hegel, as the basis for his historical materialism. Hegel was of the view that history gained its
meaning from the interaction of ideas. There was a perennial struggle of ideas for dominance over one another. Out
of this struggle of ideas, new ideas emerged and these new ideas corresponded more closely to the ultimate
perfection of God himself.

Every idea according to Hegel, is incomplete with inherent contradiction. The incompleteness or inherent
contradictions is every idea led naturally to its opposite, which may be called anti-thesis. From the struggle between
the two, i.e. ‘thesis’ and ‘anti-thesis’ there emerged the truth embraced by both which may be called “synthesis”.
This ‘synthesis’ becomes a new thesis and again there came an ‘anti-thesis’ and again emerged a ‘synthesis, and the
process repeated itself in an unending chain. Karl Marx opined that history unfolded according to a dialectical plan.
Here he fully agrees with Hegel. But he was of the view that ideas were not the controlling factors. Ideas do not
control the reality. These are the outcome of material conditions.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel developed communism as an ardent opposing force to capitalism. Appalling
degradation of man in society and crushing poetry were the real basis for the communist protest. The degradation
was accompanied by uncontrolled industrialization in the middle of the nineteenth century. The whole Europe was
engulfed in moral turpitude, degeneration and oppression which fully justified the advent of communist’s bitterness
and scorn against the capitalistic structure of society. This caused great frustration among the masses and
consequently they became inquisitive to bring about social justice.

Karl Marx was a social scientist. As a social scientist, he made efforts to look at this injustice quite impersonally.
But these consequences according to Karl Marx were essentially involved for the accumulation of capital. Karl
Marx viewed that in each and every society industry, “the wages paid to the workers are not the equivalent of
the full value they produce, but only equal to about half of this value or even less. The rest of the value
produced by the worker during his working day is taken outright by his employer.”

“The truce and the false together in Karl Marx constitute one of the most tremendously compelling forces
that modern history has seen. For the power of his message and for his influence upon the future movement
of the communism, Karl Marx can be sure of his place amongst great masters of political thought.” (Wayper)
Proletarian Dictatorship

The Proletariat class comprises of the workers, laborers or wage-earners would naturally be in the vast majority in
every society. Karl Marx was of the view that it is then quite natural that the dictatorship of the proletariat would be
a democracy of the majority. The “Communist Manifesto” also says “The first step in the working class
revolution is the raising of the proletariat to the position of the ruling class, the victory of democracy. The
proletarian movement is the conscious movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense
majority.” Karl Marx believed in the inevitability of this class struggle and the ultimate victory of the proletariat
after a successful bloody revolution, he did not like to leave this development to the forces of economic evolution.
He wanted that this revolution should be precipitated through organization and energetic sophisticated action on the
part of workers. All the confronted titanic forces should be crushed by the laborers.

The Marxian ideal was to bring about proletarian dictatorship through violent means and not through peaceful
evolution, resulting in the political and economic domination by the proletarians. The proletarian revolution against
the bourgeoisie class in the state is directed towards the achievement of two ends:

1. Firstly, this proletarian revolution has to destroy the capitalist structure of society. In destroying the capitalist stat
it is very essential for the proletarian revolution to destroy all the social, political, legal and other such institutions
of the capitalist state.

2. Secondly, the proletarian revolution has to replace all the social, political, legal and other institutions with new
institutions. These new institutions should be such as it suits the needs of the proletarian class.
Karl Marx said, “Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary
transformation of the one into the other. There corresponds to this also a political transition period in which
the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of proletariat.” Lenin was the true follower of Karl
Marx. He was of the view that Communism is to be achieved in two stages. The first stage of Communism
follows immediately after the seizure of power by the proletarian. In this stage of communism, society would
not be a free society. This stage of communism contains the blend of vestiges of old and bourgeoisie order. In
the old capitalist state, the capitalist employer and exploiter used to suppress the minority and in the new
stage of Communism or in the proletariat dictatorship it would be proletariat class which would suppress the
minority or the capitalist. The Communist state differs from the capitalist state in two ways:

a) In it the majority i.e. the workers will expropriate the majority.

b) The revolutionary proletariat will abolish all classes and then disappear as a class.

The proletarian dictatorship in the transitional period is not a fluctuating period of “Super Revolutionary” deeds and
decrease. On the contrary, the dictatorship of the proletariat must be regarded as an entire historical epoch full of
external conflicts and civil wars. In the dictatorship of proletariat there is a constant organizational work along with
economic progress. In the dictatorship of the proletariat, the proletariat will be given full opportunity to educate
itself.

Lenin said, “Under the dictatorship of the proletariat we will have to re-educate million of peasants and petty
proprietors, hundreds of thousands of office workers and bourgeoisie intellectuals to subordinate all these to
proletarian state and to proletarian leadership, to overcome their bourgeoisie habits and traditions, to re-
educate in a protracted struggle under the controlling auspices of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the
proletarians themselves, for they will not be able themselves of own petty bourgeoisie prejudices at the first
stroke as if by magic, or at the behest of the Virgin Mary, or by a slogan, resolution or decree it can be done
only in the course of a long and difficult mass struggle against the mass of petty bourgeoisie influence.”

The Communist holds that the proletarian dictatorship means the despotic rule of the Communist minority. It will
be a victory of democracy and not a despotism of a minority. The proletariat class in power will not maintain the
affairs of the state with repression and violence. Laski was of the view that the dictatorship of the proletariat
means, not the anti-thesis of democracy, but the anti-thesis of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. It will be
exercised through elected bodies and subject to public opinion. Lenin also remarks in this regard, “Revolutionary
dictatorship of the proletariat is power won and maintained by the violence of the proletariat against the
bourgeoisie power that is unrestrained by any law.”

The dictatorship of the proletariat is not an end, but a means to an end the creation of society in which the basic
principle of life and social organization would be, “from each according to his capacity, to each according to his
needs.” The dictatorship of the proletariat is transitory in nature. After the establishment of the society, dictatorship
of the proletariat will not remain. The state will wither away. All functions of the state will administer themselves
and administration will be a matter of technical and scientific knowledge instead of exercise of political will and
authority. There will be an ideal society of the free and the equal without any internal disruption and mutual
dissension.
Karl Marx and Capitalism

Karl Marx devoted a great part of his life to the study of capitalism I order to describe the capitalist method of
production of his own age and for all ages to come. By studying capitalism, Karl Marx wanted to know the guiding
principle of its change. Karl Marx studied the capitalism with missionary spirit to make a scientific forecast on its
development. The salient feature of the feudal production was production for local consumption. In the age of
feudalism, persons used to produce for themselves and for their feudal lords. In those days, production was meant
for consumption. Gradually feudal units of production began to break up. Profit became the only aim of production
in the modern world. Production for profit required two things, capitalists’ means of production, and the laborers
whose only chance of getting a livelihood was to sell his labor.

In this new system of production, there was a complete change. Now the laborers produced things not for their
personal use. On the contrary the production was meant for the capitalist to sell for money. In this new system of
production, things were produced not for consumption but for sale in the market. Laborer received his wages for his
capitalist employer for his work and the capitalist employer received profit. Karl Marx is of the view that profit
arises in the course of production. Sale of products does not produce profit.

According to Karl Marx, the exchange value of product depends upon the Labor Time spent in its
production. A product has a great exchange value if more human labor has been put into its production.
Labor time spent in producing labor power means the time spent in producing the food, shelter, clothes and other
such things which are essential for the laborer maintenance. Nowadays a laborer is able to produce in a day more
than is necessary to his survival but he is paid by his employer a wage commensurate with a subsistence level of
existence. The difference is called surplus value. In the modern capitalist society this surplus value is appreciated by
the capitalist employer.

Karl Marx is of the view that capitalists are permanent profit makers because they appropriate surplus value.
It is very true that there is always a difference between the exchange value of a product produced by laborer and the
value of labor power. In simple terms this difference may be called surplus value. Karl Marx opined that under
capitalist structure of production in each and every factory and industry, “the wages paid to the workers are not
the equivalent of the full value they produce, but only equal about half this value or even less. The rest of the
value produced by the worker during his working days is taken outright by his employer.”

In the capitalist system of production, the capitalist always become greedy and ambitious to increase the amount of
surplus value which means more profit for him. Lust for profit is the prime factor in the capitalist system of
production. The capitalist make more profit only by exploiting the laborer. According to Karl Marx exploitation of
the laborer is another salient feature of capitalism. This exploitation results in class struggle. Class struggle is
perennial and perpetual in the capitalism. The worker is fighting for the existence of his life and he wanted to avoid
intimidation and ultimately class struggle starts. The laborer demands higher wages and shorter hours of work for
improving his position. On the other hand, the capitalist wants to make more profits and hence there is a constant
clash and struggle between the capitalist and the laborer, which can never come to an end so long as the capitalist
system of production lasts.

Karl Marx is of the view that property in any form is not capital, unless it is used to produce surplus value. The
early accumulation of capital was very largely open robbery. But there was another way also through which capital
came into existence. According to Karl Marx the primitive accumulation is the real origin of capital. He ridicules
the legend of men, moderate in food and drink who served from their meager living. Karl Marx said, “This
primitive accumulation plays in political economy about the same part as original sin played in theology.
Adam bit the apple, and thereupon sin fell upon the human race. In times long gone by there were town sorts
of people; one, the diligent, intelligent and above all frugal elite: the other lazy rascals, spending their
substance, and more in riotous living. Thus it came to pass that the former sort accumulated wealth and the
latter sort had a t last nothing to sell except their own skin. And from this original sin dates the poverty of the
great majority that, despite all its labor, has up to now nothing to sell but itself and the wealth of the few that
increases constantly although they have long ceased to work.”

With the victory of the proletariat, the class struggle puts an end to this process by ending capitalist system of
production. Apart from class-struggle, there are other obstructions to the smooth development of capitalism. In
other words we may say that these obstacles as a matter of fact are inherent in the capitalism. The most important
among these obstacles, is the economic crisis. This crisis creates a great obstacle to the smooth course of capitalist
development. Whenever economic crisis occur, it checks the expansion of capital. Economic crisis do not check the
expansion of capital, but often led to the destruction of the capital accumulated in past years. Karl Marx said, “In
these crisis there broke out an epidemic that, is all earlier epochs, would have become an absolutely the
epidemic of over-production.”
Theory of State
“The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie as
a whole.” (Karl Marx)

State is thought of as parliament or some representative institution. Karl Marx concluded that the development of
the state had nothing to do with any form of representative institutions. But he was of the view that state is a
machine through which the ruling class imposes its will on the majority. According to Karl Marx, state is not meant
for the promotion of the welfare of its people nor bestows any right of political obligation and obedience but its
coercion and that a class coercion. The state acts as an agency of class coercion in the hands of dominant economic
class rather than an association of citizens is the pursuits of a common purpose.

According to the Communist theory, the state is nothing but a tool of the dominant class in society. Economic is
the domineering factor which becomes the base of all structures of the society. According to Aristotle the state came
into birth for the sake of life and state continues to exist for the sake of good life. According to classical view, state
is an institution meant for the proper development of the personality of its each and every citizen. Laski said,
“State strives to hold a just balance between the different elements in society. It strives by its policy to effect
such an adjustment of the relationship between citizens and will enable each of them to realize, if he so
desires, the fullest implications of human personality.”

Karl Marx vividly differs from the classical views regarding state. He says the state has never and can never aim at
the common good of the community as a whole. According to Communist Manifesto, the state is the executive
committee of the bourgeoisie. Karl Marx said, “State is nothing more than the form of organization which the
bourgeoisie necessarily adopt both for internal and external purpose for the mutual guarantee of their
property and interest.”

According to Karl Marx, there was no state in primitive society and as soon as human society was formed it
bifurcated into two classes. It became very essential for the privileged class to have an armed force for the purpose
to maintain the privileges of the privileged class and secondly to protect the interests of the privileged class.
Friedrich Engel said, “This public force exists in every state, it consists not merely of armed men, but of
material appendages, prisons and repressive institutions of all kind.” Naturally, the ruling class having the
apparatus of force and absolute rod of authority will always coerce upon the other classes of society. Fear and
intimidation of the ruling class constrained the people to subdue for complete obedience and hence the Marxian
state aims at crushing the independent will of its subjects. Communists hold the views from the record of history
that the state exists only to help the capitalist in exploiting and suppressing the laborers.

Karl Marx viewed state as a product of class antagonism. Lenin said, “Where, when and to what extent, the state
arises depends directly on which where and to what extent, the class antagonism of a given society cannot be
objectively reconciled. And, conversely the existence of the state proves that class antagonisms are
irreconcilable.” Karl Marx was of the view that the state will be able to wither away completely when society has
realized the value, “From each according to his ability: to each according to his needs.” Then there would be no
problem of production and its distribution. There would be no question of mine and thine. Every one will work
voluntarily according to his ability and capacity and will get share according to his needs and requirements.

Classless Society:
Karl Marx was of the opinion that class struggle is perpetual and constant between man and man and consequently
man always fought for his own existence. It ends only if the final and ultimate victory of the labor is achieved. This
is a known factor that in the capitalist structure of society, but not over the means of production and its direction
was vested in the hands of the capitalist. Proletariats in that society are neglected people always living at the sweet
mercy of capitalist. When violent bloody revolution in the name of communism bring about complete and ultimate
victory to the proletarian revolutionaries, and the complete annihilation of the aristocratic and capitalist class in the
society ushers a new epoch of social equality and economic parity. With the advent of proletarianism, a new system
of legal, economic, political and production world emerges out. In this new system, all the functions of the
government and the means as well as technique of production were to be controlled by the society.

Friedrich Engel said, “Whilst the capitalist mode of production more and more completely transforms the
great majority of the population into proletarians it creates the power which under penalty of its own
destruction is forced to accomplish this revolution. Whilst it forces on more and more the transformation of
the vast means of production already socialized into state property. It shows itself the way to accomplishing
this revolution. The proletariat seizes political power and turns the means of production into state property.”
All the class distinction in society would disappear, and with the disappearance of the class distinctions in society,
the class struggle would also come to an end. The proletariat would use their power to eliminate private ownership
of means of production. As soon as private ownership of means of production is eliminated, all class distinction
would automatically vanish and society would become a stateless and classless society.

Criticism:

1. Karl Marx’s theory of state stands against the classical theory of state. According to classical view, the main
reason for the existence of the state is the promotion of the good of the community. On the contrary, Karl Marx’s
state is a machine by which one class exploits and suppresses the other.

2. Karl Marx’s views do no explain the exact nature of the state. It gives a wrong conception. He says that the ruling
class is the representative of an economic class and the ruling class is always interested in pursuing its own
interests. This is incorrect view of Karl Marx. The example of medieval kings and emperors stand against the
theory of Karl Marx as they were not the representative of an economic class and consciously pursuing the interests
of their own class. On the contrary, the ancient and medieval kings were the representatives of the whole society.

3. Karl Marx’s theory of stat is quite applicable to the first half of the nineteenth century, but for twentieth century it
is quite inapplicable. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Laissez-faire policy was predominant but today its
forces are no longer reliable. Now we live in an era of democratic socialist planning. Nowadays state is meant for
the promotion of the common good. Thus it can be said that Karl Marx’s theory of state is not at all applicable to
the states of modern times.

4. The conception of Karl Marx that victory of proletariats over the capitalists would result in the disappearance of
class distinction is absolutely incorrect and untrue for glaring reasons that he had created class distinction i.e.
bourgeoisie and proletariat, two great hostile camps and two prominent classes constantly indulging in class
struggle and warfare which culminated into oppression and chaos.