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Hamilton and Christianity

I agree with those who assert that the Hobbesian state of nature is nihilistic and a degradation of man. I also agree with the philosopher Leo Strauss that John Locke's reinterpretation of the state of nature also suffers from the same fate. However, I do not believe the American founders (at least most of them) interpreted the state of nature in this manner.

Here is an excellent passage from Alexander Hamilton (The Farmer Refuted, 1775)

"Man, in the state of nature (you say) may be considered, as perfectly free from all restraints of law and government, and, then, the weak must submit to the strong.

THere is so strong a similitude between your political principles and those maintained by Mr. Hobbes, that, in judging from them, a person might very easily mistake you for a disciple of his...Moral obligation, according to him, is derived from the intrduction of civil society; and there is no virtue, but what is purely articifial, the mere contrivance of politicians. But the reason he ran into this absurd and impious doctrine was, that he disbelieved the existence of an intelligent superintending principle, who is governor, and will be the final judge, of the universe...

Good and wise men...have supposed that the deity, from the relations we stand in, to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensibly obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatsoever...

"Hence, in a state of nature, no man had any MORAL power to deprive another of his life, limbs, propery, or liberty, nor the least authority to command or exact obedience from him, except that which arose from the ties of consanguinity."