Hobbes, T. (1660). The Leviathan or the Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common-wealth, Ecclesiasticall and Civill
Assignment focused on Ch. 14 and 15 only.
What philosophical principles from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan do you see as being enshrined in the 1763 Royal Proclamation? Are there other similar philosophical principles from other texts covered in this course that you see as being enshrined in the 1763 Royal Proclamation?
For this assignment, I would recommend the following elements:
• A brief introduction with your thesis statement. This thesis statement
should come early, and explicitly link Hobbes’ social contract philosophy
with the Royal Proclamation. Consider the following example. The Royal
Proclamation violates Hobbesian contract theory because of x, y, z…
• A section that summarizes the Royal Proclamation. Your summary should
reference the (i) immediate historical events and (ii) political rationale
behind it as you describe the central provisions of the document. This
section should also include some discussion of the (iii) contemporary
relevance of the Royal Proclamation in modern Canadian jurisprudence.
• A large section (divided into as many sub-sections as needed) linking
Hobbes with the Royal Proclamation. This is part of the ‘philosophical’
component of the paper. Be as specific as possible in linking sections of
Hobbes’ Leviathan with the historical, political and legal significance of
the Royal Proclamation. The more specific, the better.
• A smaller section linking Royal Proclamation with other philosophers
studied in this course. You can also tease out differences between the
views of Plato and Aquinas on one hand, and Hobbes on the other hand,
with relation to the Royal Proclamation of 1763. This is part of the
‘philosophical’ component of the paper.
• A conclusion that re-states your thesis statement and sums up the points
leading towards it.
III. WHAT TO AVOID IN THIS ASSIGNMENT
• Lengthy (if any) discussion of any philosopher’s historical background
and personal biography.
• Lengthy discussion of historical events not immediately related to Royal
Proclamation. For example, you do not need to describe the Seven Years’
War in any detail. You do need however to mention that the Royal
Proclamation came after Seven Years’ War. Once you have identified the
larger historical context of the Royal Proclamation, move on.
IV. WHAT TO INCLUDE IN THIS ASSIGNMENT
• Outside sources, especially (but not exclusively) when it comes
identifying the contemporary relevance of the Royal Proclamation for
Canadian jurisprudence. Recommendation: use your outside sources to fill
out the ‘larger’ picture, avoid them when it comes to interpreting the
relevance of Hobbes’ social contract theory.
• An ability to summarize complex ideas with economy & efficiency. Pick
out the two, may be three most important components, when you
summarize the Royal Proclamation. (Some might even say only one
• An attempt at independent analysis. This assignment – like the Aquinas’
assignment – has no ‘right’ answer. It is rather an exercise in developing a
coherent argument. As discussed in class, focus on Chapter 14 of Hobbes’
Leviathan. This said, your submission should demonstrate familiarity with
the other chapters as well, especially but not exclusively Chapter 13.
Consider also Aquinas’ definition of law (four conditions) in your
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