While Hobbes insists that government rule should be hindered as little as possible, Locke counters that its sovereignty must be limited in respect to the preservation of one’s natural rights. These natural rights are one’s due of life, liberty, and property. I would more readily consent to a government that respects these rights as my own than to an absolute monarchy as Hobbes would likely suggest. Locke envisioned aspects of the state of nature transcending into a governed society while Hobbes saw it as something in its entirety that needed to be escaped. It is a state of war that offers no security with low probability of survival. One must consent to a sovereign government in order to retain peace. A citizen is obligated to obey this government even if they disagree with its actions. Hobbes’ extreme view of nature is paralleled by his extreme view of favoring monarchism.
Perhaps most importantly, is the right of revolution when one is being governed by an entity that is no longer looking out for the best interest of its people. When consenting to a government, it is prudent that the consented remember this. It is a proper government’s duty to protect its people from invaders and to respect and facilitate their way of life. If a government turns on its people, this could lead to its citizens questioning its sovereignty and integrity, leading to civil war. When civil war erupts, if it is just in its cause, one is obligated to fight against tyranny and establish a proper ruling body. But Locke states that when there is order, as provided by a publicly recognized sovereignty, one must obey its laws and pay taxes due. Revolution is a last stand, a desperate measure of an oppressed people.
In this state of nature, I would properly consent to a government that respected its citizen’s natural rights, including religious rights. Also, I would expect this government to be limited by some degree. Separation of powers amongst several legislative bodies would be a essential aspect of this government. As Locke describes, a single ruling entity is not much better than in a state of nature by relying on this ruler to judge and monitor themselves. A desirable government would incorporate checks and balances into its operation in order to better preserve the rights and liberties of its people. I would feel the need to consent to this government in order better achieve my own goal of happiness and tranquility. I would no longer live under constant fear of my life and property. By fulfilling my obligations as a citizen, I will enjoy the comfort afforded by a ruling body formed under a social contract.