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Homework answers / question archive / Second essay: topics and instructions Do not include a title page or works cited page

Second essay: topics and instructions Do not include a title page or works cited page


Second essay: topics and instructions

Do not include a title page or works cited page.

Your task is to write an imaginary speech given by either Thomas Hobbes or by John Locke at the Putney Debates (see the minutes of the debate on pages 61-104 of the assigned edited volume, titled “Extracts from ‘the Putney Debates’”).

In addition to writing a speech, you can and should frame it within the occurrence of the events at Putney as you see fit. You are free to imagine any specific reason why your author was at Putney Debates and began to speak, as well as any outcome following the speech. For example, whether Hobbes or Locke were invited, brought in as a prisoner or as an expert scholar, were forced to testify or rudely interrupted the debate, whether they managed to persuade both sides of the philosophical correctness or political utility of their ideas or took a definite position in favor of one against the other; whether their words incited a riot between the two factions, whether they were tarred and feathered, rudely ejected from the meeting, or lifted up in triumph, etc. etc. – all of these choices are entirely up to you.

Although you have creative freedom over the paper, please exercise it judiciously. Originality, a sense of humor, and dramatic flair will be much appreciated. But the main purpose of the paper is still to convey a sense of your understanding of the political ideas of the speaker (Hobbes or Locke), in relation to the debate that took place at Putney. The speaker should express your best understanding of his actual ideas, as explained in either Leviathan or the Second Treatise of Government, as well as your best understanding of the tense and complex debate between the Levellers and their opponents at Putney.

Title and introduction

The essay should begin with a title, one that is imaginative and inviting to the reader. You should not include a separate title page, but make sure to number all the pages in the essay.

You should consider setting the stage for the speech by means of an introduction that explains the basic division at Putney between the Levellers and their opponents, as well as why the debate took place in the first place and its place in the process of the English Civil War. Here you can refer to other Leveller pamphlets you have read in order to flesh out the issues you intend to pick up on in the rest of the paper. For example, if you are going to give voice to Hobbes, you can talk about the grim realities of the Civil War (the timeline handout and my lectures should help here), what had happened to monarchy at the time of the debate, and the causes and consequences of the politicization and radicalization of the New Model Army. If you are going to give voice to Locke, you could also discuss economic issues (if you plan on focusing on those in the speech), such as the class basis of the different factions of the Civil War or more specifically in the New Model Army, the economic dimension and likely consequences of the male universal suffrage proposal put forth by the Levellers in their “Agreement of the People,” etc.

Quoting and citing from the texts

Although most of the paper will take the form of a speech, you should still carefully provide page references for the two texts you will engage – EITHER Hobbes’ Leviathan OR Locke’s Second Treatise of Government AND the Leveller pamphlets found in the assigned edited volume.

Since in this essay you will deal with more than one text, you should include references that indicate the title of the text, as well as the page number(s).

For example: “The law of nature and the civil law contain each other, and are of equal extent.” (Leviathan, 314).

The titles of the texts can be too long and unwieldy to repeat too often. Moreover, continuously repeating the titles of the texts can be tiresome and takes up space that you need to develop your argument. Therefore, after the first time you refer to a text by its full title – for example, (Second Treatise of Government, 30) – you should use a suitable abbreviation, such as: (STG, 30).

In the case of the Levellers make sure to refer to the specific pamphlet or text you are quoting, rather than the book in general. For example, “Parliaments are to receive the extent of their power and trust from those that betrust them.” (An Agreement of the People, 56)

Try to avoid long quotations unless absolutely necessary. If you must include quotations that are longer than three lines, be sure to indent, single-space them, and remove the quotation marks, as illustrated here:

The cause of our misery is upon two things. We sought to satisfy all men, and it was well; but in going about to do it we have dissatisfied all men ... we have gone to support an house which will prove rotten studs – I mean the Parliament, which consists of a company of rotten members. (Extracts from ‘the Putney debates,’ 62)

As usual, even when you do not directly quote the text, but make a statement that can be substantiated by referring to specific page numbers, you should try to do so.

For example:

Locke seems to be obsessed with hypothetical scenarios in which thieves and robbers come to steal his possessions. (STG, 15, 91, 94, 95, 97, 105, 115)

These are the formal parameters you should use to quote and cite from the texts. However,

since much of the essay will have specific form of speech given by either Hobbes or Locke, you should take care and find ways to integrate the quotes as part of that speech.

If in his speech Hobbes includes a direct quote from Leviathan, for example, you could have him say something like: “As I already had the occasion to explain in my famous work, ‘… though of so unlimited a Power, men may fancy many evill consequences, yet the consequences of the want of it, which is perpetuall warre of every man against his neighbor, are much worse.’” (Leviathan, 260)

Alternatively, you could have Hobbes make the same point, paraphrasing the same passage, expressing it in a dramatic vein, but still taking care to include the appropriate page reference at the end of the sentence.

You can also quote directly the speakers at Putney or paraphrase their ideas. Locke, for example, could respond in his speech to a point made earlier during the debate by the Levellers in this manner: “Mr. Petty told us earlier that poor people should have the right to vote, and Mr. Rainborough hastened to add that, if this was not the case, no one should expect the poor to obey a government they had no voice in electing.” (Extract from the Putney Debates, 69)

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