Leviathan: (Annotated Edition)
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Leviathan takes place in a time of historical and philosophical change. Historically, it was written just before England plunged into civil war - the result of a bitter power struggle between the British Parliament and the monarchy. Hobbes' earlier work came down decidedly on the side of the royalists - a position that sent him into exile in France - but Leviathan was attacked by both sides. Those opposed to the monarchy saw an extension of his previous arguments, which in many ways it was, that the subjects of a commonwealth were to obey their ruler absolutely. Yet royalists were also offended by the work, despite the fact that Hobbes argued that a monarchy is a preferable form a government to a democracy, because they perceived attacks on a monarch's divine right to rule, as well as the rules that governed succession, and accused Hobbes of "switching sides." Additionally, Hobbes was an avid student of the classics, and was convinced of the inherent instabilities of the ancient Greek and Roman democracies. When the struggle for power emerged in his own time, he undoubtedly saw this as another chapter in the story of democracy's volatility. For Hobbes, in the past democratic governments had only encouraged factionalism and in-fighting, which served only to distract it from more pressing issues, particularly invading armies.