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Hobbes and Tocqueville on Individualism, Equality, and Centralized Administration


Hobbes and Tocqueville on Individualism, Equality, and Centralized Administration

Webster, John Grant (2014) Hobbes and Tocqueville on Individualism, Equality, and Centralized Administration. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Webster_MPPPA_S2015.pdf - Accepted Version
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There exists a connection between Hobbes and Tocqueville has thus far been inadequately explored in the academic literature. This paper seeks to correct this by providing a comparison of Thomas Hobbes and Alexis de Tocqueville on individualism, equality, and centralized administration. The role of and value placed on these three concepts within the authors’ work will be explored. It will be argued that between Hobbes and Tocqueville there is significant agreement as to the consequences and implications that these three phenomena have upon a society. Despite this, however, while Tocqueville seeks to moderate equality and individualism, and advocates a decentralized governmental administration, Hobbes advocates centralized administration and a high degree equality and individualism. In other words, what Tocqueville seeks to avoid, Hobbes seeks to embrace. The irreconcilable difference comes from the values that the authors display; Tocqueville regards this excess as fundamentally detrimental to the human soul, and Hobbes regards Tocqueville’s moderation as concerned with a prideful and superfluous understanding of humanity, positing instead that concerns over the soul actually inhibit what is truly important, namely the pursuit and satisfaction of private goals, manifested as material and appetitive goods.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Webster, John Grant
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Public Policy and Public Administration
Date:11 November 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Smith, Travis
ID Code:979159
Deposited On:09 Jul 2015 16:16
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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