The 17th and 18th Centuries Were a Time of Great Political Change in Europe

The 17th and 18th centuries were a time of great political change in Europe, as various monarchs consolidated and centralized their control over their kingdom and people through the system known as Absolutism. Various political theorists, such as Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli, wrote about power – how to obtain it and how to use it. Others, like John Locke, took the opposite view and argued against the necessity of an absolutist state; his central thesis was that power came from the consent of the governed – the idea of the social contract. Assignment: Compare and contrast at least two of the three following primary sources, two of which are in your primary sources reader, and the other online (link provided). Discuss what each of them and their author state regarding human nature and government. What are some of the similarities and differences between them? How are they reflections of the time period(s) and place(s)? What do they say in terms of the purpose of government? Make specific references to primary sources’ texts in order to illustrate the points you make. Use the textbook to provide appropriate historical context for the documents.

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