Hobbes view on sovereignty is not based on the arguments that he derived from his discussion of man. The essence of commonwealth, according to him, is one person, of whose acts a great multitude, by mutual covenants, one with another, have made themselves every one the author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their peace and common defense. The one that carries this person is called sovereign and he is also said to have sovereign power. Understanding what is meant by person, author and covenant is of utmost importance since they bear a critical relationship with Hobbes view on state and sovereignty.

Hobbes view on sovereignty can be interpreted din two conflicting ways. These two interpretations provide divergent answers to Hobbes investigation into the source of sovereigns rights. One of these views holds that the sovereigns rights are not based on an original contract instituting the commonwealth. According to this perspective, the sovereigns rights are exclusively derived from the nature of the sovereign. In this regard, sovereign rights are determined exclusively by the concept of sovereignty. The concept would be dissolved into absurdity by any association of sovereign rights to an original contract.

The other interpretation holds that sovereigns rights are based on an original contract. According to this perspective, sovereigns derive their rights from a contract between subjects with their continuation being dependent upon the contracts abiding force. The former interpretation corresponds closely with Hobbes intention even though the latter interpretation is partially correct. Hobbes unambiguously states that the rights of sovereigns are not owed to a contract. He states that the view that any monarch derives his power by covenant emanates from the understanding that covenants have no binding force since they are only words but rather proceed from the people or person who has sovereignty.

If specific sovereigns rights are assessed, it is likely to be discovered that they belong to the sovereign authority by virtue of the concepts constitution. For instance, sovereigns cannot be overthrown for, that king whose power is restricted is not superior to the person or persons who have the power to restrict it, and the person who is not superior is not supreme or sovereign. Sovereigns are responsible for making decisions or judgments on what is necessary for their subjects in terms of peace and defense. Sovereigns also judge the kind of doctrines and opinions that spread among the people. They design the rules of reward and punishment, the rules of choosing ministers, the rules of making war and peace and the rules that the subjects live by. In short, sovereignty cannot be fragmented.


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