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It is easiest to discuss Locke by making a series of modifications on Hobbes’s theory of sovereignty. Of course, the difference between the two theories is far more complicated, but in regards to the thesis, it is sufficient to identify three very closely-related, key differences. First, Locke dismisses Hobbes’s assertion (which I have showed to be contradictory multiple times) that subjects give up the right, in fact, the ability, to judge their sovereign when moving from the state of nature to sovereignty. Effectively, Locke makes the contract a two-way agreement instead of a one-way subjection, termed in his works as “fiduciary power” in Chapter XIII. Second, for Locke, ‘ultimate’ sovereignty resides always in the people. One on hand, the supreme sovereign will always be God, but beneath his throne, men can delegate power to one another, but there will never be a permanent hierarchy of power. The supreme power of the legislature is amassed from a conditional grant by the people; every man is bound by its laws, notwithstanding disagreement. By extension of this logic, Locke makes two foundational claims of his notion of sovereignty, which Hobbes does not adopt: one is that no part of the sovereign government will ever be above the law, the other is that power can be retracted from the government at any time, pending agreement of the people (these derivations are explored in detail in Chapters VIII and IX).The third and, perhaps most important, difference is that for Hobbes, sovereignty is a perpetual, indivisible power belonging to a particular individual. Indeed, this disagreement is the crux of this paper. For Locke, there are a variety of powers necessary for the protection of the public good, just as in Hobbes, but there is no need to unite them all in one body. Here Locke presents idea of the sovereignty of law itself: “there is no need, that the legislative should be always in being, not having always business to do” (Locke 76). The laws “have a constant and lasting force, and need a perpetual execution” that is provided by the executive power (Locke 76). While Hobbes agrees to the need of these aspects of sovereignty, he refuses to divide them. Locke, on the other hand, demonstrates that a ‘division of labor’ can very feasibly exist, especially because he touches upon the idea of a natural power that pertains to other duties. Federative power, which relates to “the power of war and peace, leagues and alliances, and all transactions” (Locke 76), could easily be invested in entirely separate bodies from both the executive and legislative powers.


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