Article: Hobbes’s Argument for the Naturalness and Necessity of Colonization

James, D. (2017): Hobbes’s Argument for the Naturalness and Necessity of Colonization, in: History of Political Thought, Volume 38, Number 3, 2017, pp. 439-461(23)

The author about his article: Towards the end of the second part of Leviathan, there is a short passage in which Hobbes describes a process of colonization and the reasons behind it. I explain this passage in terms of Hobbes’s definition of freedom as the absence of external impediments tomotion and the role that he assigns to the passions in explaining human behaviour. On this basis, I argue that Hobbes implies that colonization is both natural and necessary. The willingness of some individuals to risk their lives in an attempt to free themselves from colonial power and Hobbes’s account of the sovereign’s role in the process of colonization will be shown, however, to indicate the possibility of an alternative conception of freedom and an alternative explanation of human behaviour, thereby introducing an element of contingency. Colonization turns out in this way not to be as natural and necessary as Hobbes makes it seem.