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Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679): Contract as the Basis of Political Obligation

THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The English Civil War of the 17th century formed the backdrop to the writings of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. This conflict between the Stuart kings and the supporters of the Parliament had many strands, with the economic, religious and political dimensions of the struggle all being equally significant. The economic dispute was over Charles I’s attempts to stop the enclosure movement. The enclosure movement was backed by the English Parliament, which, in the 18th century, had come to be known as ‘the committee of landlords’1 because it never gave up on its project of helping English landlords in their attempt to drive the small farmers off their ...

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