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Matt Logan

LaFayette High School

LaFayette, Georgia

This module was developed and utilized for a ninth-grade advanced placement U.S. Government class to teach the AP syllabus subject "Constitutional Foundations:English enlightenment Influences." However, the module may be used in traditional or honors U.S. Government or history classes.

Estimated module length: two hours and fifteen to twenty minutes



John Locke. Source:Wikipediahere.


Thomas Hobbes (April 5, 1588–December 4, 1679) and John Locke (August 29, 1632–October 28, 1704), return in commitment in few of their assertions around human nature and the need for government, organized radically different perspectives around the capability of people to administer themselves. A number of American founders, acquainted with both politics philosophers, favored the ideas of Locke, an especially the assertions the men had actually natural rights, rulers should derive your authority native the consent of the governed, and also the governed had actually the best to overthrow federal governments that abused their rights.

This module is designed to present students come the political assumed of both men and serves together a leg to future lessons worrying the declaration of Independence, the U.S Constitution, and also other foundational documents.


Students will:

Identify thomas Hobbes’s and also John Locke’s contribute to the English Enlightenment.

Compare and also contrast your beliefs about the state that nature, the best form of government, and the nature of the society contract.

Explain the ideas of renowned sovereignty, consent that the governed, and the society contract, and how these principles influenced the American transformation and founding files like the explanation of Independence and also the U.S. Constitution.

Prerequisite knowledge

The module was written to enable students to have contextual understanding for expertise the development of the American political system. The presumption is the students will have actually no prior knowledge of Hobbes and also Locke. Straightforward understanding that terms and also concepts such together sovereignty, consent, order, and liberty is assumed.

Module introduction: human being nature, great or bad?

This introduction to the module is intended for students to recognize that political thought and also often activity are predicated in part on the individual’s perspective about human nature. Generally, Hobbes had actually a somewhat an adverse view of human being nature, when Locke’s view on person nature was an ext positive.

Upon entering the classroom, students space asked to complete the task below, post on the whiteboard (estimated time, ten come fifteen minutes):

Write a short paragraph answering the adhering to question: “Are people naturally great or normally bad?” Base your rationale top top history, present events, or your own life. This is an opinion question, and also your response will no be categorized together correct or incorrect.

Students then room randomly asked to share your answers.

Follow-up questions may be made use of to aid students think much more deeply around the early stage question. Instances include:

“If civilization are naturally bad, just how does one justification demonstrable improvements in person life that have arisen throughout history?"

“If people are naturally bad, why are there so numerous charities and taxpayer-funded federal government programs because that the needy?”

“If civilization are normally good, why carry out we need so countless rules and laws?”

“If civilization are naturally good, why execute you lock your car, house, and cellphone?”

Student primary source work: The political approaches of Hobbes and also Locke

Introduce students to the political assumed of Hobbes and also Locke through succinctly describing basic biographical information around each man and also the significant event(s) that influenced their respective perspectives on government (estimated time, 5 to eight minutes).


For Hobbes, the English polite War significantly shaped his worldview. In response, he arisen a political philosophy that emphasized three an essential concepts:

The organic state of mankind (the “state that nature”) is a state of war of one man versus another, as man is selfish and brutish.

The means out the the “state that nature” is a “social contract,” to be agreed top top by the people to it is in governed and also the government.

The ideal form that federal government should take is an absolute monarchy that has maximum authority, subverting mankind’s organic state and also creating societal stimulate in the process


For Locke, the fall of King James II in the Glorious transformation of 1688 showed how governments and also people have to behave. He arisen a viewpoint that emphasized 3 points:

According come Locke, the natural problem of mankind is a “state the nature” characterized by human being freedom and equality. Locke’s “law that nature”—the responsibility that created beings have to obey your creator—constitutes the structure of the “state that nature.” However, because some civilization violate this law, federal governments are needed.

People voluntarily give government few of their power through a “social contract” in bespeak to protect their “natural rights” the life, liberty, and property.

If a government stops working to defend the organic rights that its citizens or if it breaks the society contract, the civilization are entitled to rebel against the government and also create a new one.


Yale nationwide Initiative: cutting board Hobbes and John LockeandStanford Encyclopedia that Philosophy: john Locke.

Primary source excerpts: Hobbes’sLeviathanand Locke’sSecond writing on Government

Before distribution of the primary source documents, the following added contextual comment (or other similar) could be needed:

Hobbes and also Locke likewise each make questions around the nature the humanity, or the “state that nature,” together they dubbed it. This questions about the state that nature pertained to whether men were normally inclined come cooperate and also get together with each various other in society—or, in other words, “good”—or if guy was normally greedy, self-centered, and prone to violence and isolation from his fellow man—or, in various other words, “bad.”

Distribute the excerpts ofLeviathanandSecond writing on Governmentwith eleven text-based questions and have students work-related through each excerpt, comment the questions as they read. Circulate transparent the room checking student progress and clarifying questions and also explaining vocabulary if necessary (estimated time, forty-five minute to one hour).


All primary source materials and also accompanying inquiries are consisted of in attachment 1 and accessible atthis link.

After students end up reading and also answering the Hobbes document, solicit student responses come the Hobbes section of the inquiry sheet first, correcting or expanding/simplifying answers as necessary (estimated time, five to eight minutes).

Augment and expand upon student answers by stressing the although the statement is not current in the primary source readings, Hobbes believed a federal government headed through an pure monarch can ensure enforcement the the social contract, and therefore argued hereditary queens be permitted to ascendancy with absolute authority. He said that anarchy would certainly follow indigenous the absence of powerful main authority and also man would certainly revert back to the nasty, brutish, and short state the nature (AKA the “state of war”). The founders rejected this assertion.

After students complete reading and answering the Locke document, solicit student responses come the Locke portion of the inquiry sheet, correcting or expanding/simplifying answers as required (estimated time, five to eight minutes).

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The teacher will emphasize throughout this ar that Locke believed a constitutional federal government that ruled through the consent of the governed and also popular sovereignty to be needed. This government should defend the citizens’ organic rights the life, liberty, and also property, and also could be liquified if the government abused the people and also didn’t acknowledge their authority. The founders uncovered this case accurate, and they embraced many that Locke’s principles as your own.

As a homework assignment, students clock a brief online bill of legal rights Institute video titledConsent of the Governedand download and complete one accompanying video guide/worksheet available at the same site (estimated time, forty-five minutes):