"Ironically the pragmatic meaning of prudence is exactly the opposite of its traditional meaning. Traditionally prudence was not considered contrary to virtue; it was the highest virtue: It meant the wisdom to practice all the virtues in the right time and circumstance."
Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan presents one of the most influential images of why government exists. Hobbes argued that a state of nature (an environment without a government imposing order) would be "the war of all against all" and life in such an environment would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." He argued that humans formed government out of a desire for peace, and covenant away some of their rights to secure that peace. He argued that the sovereign created by that social contract should be absolute and cannot be modified; he favored a strong central government and denied any right of the people to change the form of government. Hobbes' work was quoted by Locke and Harrington, and known by the American Founders.
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