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Write a 1,500-1,900-word double-spaced essay on one of the following options and make sure to answer all parts of the question:

  • Beginning with thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, modern political and social thought has been preoccupied with the problems of material existence, from the struggle for mere survival to the pursuit of earthly comforts. This is perhaps most evident in the primacy accorded to property in explaining and justifying political relations.

Compare and contrast the ways that John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Karl Marx understand the role of property in explaining politics. In particular, discuss how each thinker uses the concept of property to explain 1) various forms of inequality, 2) the sources of conflict in society, and 3) the main purposes or aims of government (legitimate or not).

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  • The problem of violence is a pervasive theme in modern political thought. Even though most political thinkers seek to minimize if not eliminate violence in politics, some political thinkers do advocate the use of violence under certain conditions. How do John Locke and Karl Marx view the role of violence in politics?

In answering this question, 1) discuss how Locke and Marx describe the various sources of violence in politics (whether legitimate or not), 2) explain how they think that violence contributes to political change, and 3) explain under what conditions, if any, they think the use of violence is justified.

  • One of the most vexing issues in political thought concerns the problem of political obligation. Specifically, political thinkers have puzzled over how easily the “many” are governed by the “few.” What explanations have modern thinkers given for why it is so easy for the few to rule the many? Answer this question with reference to at least two of the following thinkers: John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Karl Marx.

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