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Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau$
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John Plamenatz, Mark Philp, and Zbigniew Pelczynski

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645060

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645060.001.0001

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Sovereign Authority and the Right of Resistance I

Sovereign Authority and the Right of Resistance I

(p.130) 9 Sovereign Authority and the Right of Resistance I
Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau

Mark Philp

Z. A. Pelczynski

Oxford University Press

Plamenatz examines Hobbes’ claims that the sovereign can never act unjustly; that unlimited sovereign authority should be concentrated in the hands of one man whose subjects cannot rightfully disobey; and that the sovereign’s right is unlimited. The argument for absolute authority ignores the need for security of those who covenant, the distinction between sovereignty by consent and conquest, and the force of the obligations under the law of nature. Each suggests limits on sovereign authority. Hobbes’s account of the sovereign’s authority over religious belief is analysed.

Keywords:   Hobbes, sovereignty, authority, law, justice, iniquity, disobedience, right of nature, security, religious belief, toleration

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