Front Page Titles (by Subject) Harrington vs. Hobbes on Politics - Literature of Liberty, Autumn 1982, vol. 5, No. 3
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Harrington vs. Hobbes on Politics - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Autumn 1982, vol. 5, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Harrington vs. Hobbes on Politics
“James Harrington and Thomas Hobbes.” Journal of the History of Ideas 42 (July–September 1981): 407–422.
James Harrington (1611–1677), English republican author of Oceana (1656), has been seen as borrowing heavily from Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), but whatever Harrington borrowed he stamped with his own personality which distinguishes him from Hobbes on many issues. Harrington, in fact, criticized Hobbes for conflating certain classical distinctions (for example, that between a government of laws and of men) and for attempting to discover ultimate political principles outside of history. As a republican, Harrington believed in a government of laws, not men, for he believed that government should be limited by a covenant, as in the Roman Republic. Like Hobbes, Harrington maintained that governments founded on riches may have power; unlike Hobbes, however, he believed that only governments founded on virtue have authority.
Harrington differed from Hobbes also on religion and human nature. In arguing for a popular, public, civic religion, Harrington was arguing against the possibility of using the allegedly monarchic character of religion to support a monarchic politics. Hobbes was far more ambiguous on religion. Also, Hobbes saw human nature as conflictful because of warring passions which were determined by external objects. By contrast, Harrington saw human nature engaged in a moral conflict between reason and passion, where reason ought to triumph. As a result, Harrington's perfect utopia, the commonwealth of Oceana, is one where reason triumphs in the lives of rulers and ruled.
Finally, Harrington's political methodology follows the model not of geometric science (like Hobbes), but of comparative human anatomy (as practiced by Harvey). Harrington engaged in a comparative political anatomy, which surveyed all the relevant types of government in order to ascertain an ideal commonwealth.