Cover image for On the citizen
On the citizen
Hobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
De cive. English
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
lii, 250 pages ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JC153 .H5213 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
JC153 .H5213 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



De Cive (On the Citizen) is the first full exposition of the political thought of Thomas Hobbes, the greatest English political philosopher of all time. Professors Tuck and Silverthorne have undertaken the first complete translation since 1651, a rendition long thought (in error) to be at least sanctioned by Hobbes himself. On the Citizen is written in a clear, straightforward, expository style, and in many ways offers students a more digestible account of Hobbes's political thought than the Leviathan itself. This new translation is both accurate and accessible, and is itself a significant scholarly event: it is accompanied by a full glossary of Latin terms, a chronology, bibliography, and an expository introduction. Throughout the editors have emphasised consistency in the translation and usage of Hobbes's basic conceptual vocabulary, respecting Hobbes's own concern for accurate definition of terms.

Author Notes

Thomas Hobbes was born in Malmesbury, the son of a wayward country vicar. He was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and was supported during his long life by the wealthy Cavendish family, the Earls of Devonshire. Traveling widely, he met many of the leading intellectuals of the day, including Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, and Rene Descartes.

As a philosopher and political theorist, Hobbes established---along with, but independently of, Descartes---early modern modes of thought in reaction to the scholasticism that characterized the seventeenth century. Because of his ideas, he was constantly in dispute with scientists and theologians, and many of his works were banned. His writings on psychology raised the possibility (later realized) that psychology could become a natural science, but his theory of politics is his most enduring achievement. In brief, his theory states that the problem of establishing order in society requires a sovereign to whom people owe loyalty and who in turn has duties toward his or her subjects. His prose masterpiece Leviathan (1651) is regarded as a major contribution to the theory of the state.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Note on the translation
Key words
Principal events in Hobbes's life
Further reading
On the Citizen
Preface to the readers
1 On the state of man without civil society
2 On the natural law of contracts
3 On the other laws of nature
4 That the natural law is the divine law
5 On the causes and generation of a commonwealth
6 On the right of the Assembly of Man, who holds sovereign authority in the commonwealth
7 On the three kinds of commonwealth democracy, aristocracy and monarchy
8 On the right of masters over slaves
9 On the rights of parents over children, and on the Patrimonial Kingdom
10 Comparison of the disadvantages of each of the three kinds of commonwealth
11 Passages and examples from holy scripture about the right of kingship, which appear to support our account
12 On the internal causes which tend to dissolve a commonwealth
13 On the duties of those who exercise sovereign power
14 On laws and sins
15 On the kingdom of God by nature
16 On the kingdom of God by the old agreement
17 On the kingdom of God by the new agreement
18 On what is necessary for entry into the Kingdom of heaven