Hobbes vs. Locke Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

In this lesson plan students will learn about the major political ideas of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke by watching a video, closely reading the transcript, and collecting the facts in a graphic organizer. They will then compare those ideas through an engaging role-playing activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • contrast the political ideas of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.
  • contrast the views of Hobbes and Locke on human nature and social contract theory.
  • recall important biographical details in the lives of Hobbes and Locke.


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.


Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.



Getting the Facts on Hobbes and Locke

  • Begin by playing the video Thomas Hobbes & John Locke: Political Theories & Competing Views. Stop to clarify, add details, or to discuss the points being made.
  • Move the class into pairs and distribute two copies of the graphic organizer and a printed copy of the video transcript to each pair.
  • Students should label one graphic organizer as John Locke and the other as Thomas Hobbes. Then they will fill in the bodies with details from the video, using the transcript as needed. Inside the head they should write the major ideas proposed by that thinker. In the center of the chest they'll write how that person felt about human nature. On the arms, they'll write that person's perspective on social contract theory, and the legs and torso should consist of important biographical details.
  • When the pairs have finished, use the lesson quiz to determine if they have noted key points. Allow students to use their graphic organizers as quiz notes.

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