Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan
One of the earliest and best expositions of social contract theory. Hobbes also had a more accurate view of human nature than Locke or especially Rousseau, with whom he is often contrasted. The third and fourth parts of Leviathan are bogged down by theology and needless definitions of terms, and Hobbes’ royal absolutism is based more on arguments by assertion and authority than on reason or empiricism. Still, Leviathan has earned its place in political philosophy’s canon.