From this fundamental law of nature, by which men are commanded to endeavour peace, is derived this second law: that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth as for peace and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men as he would allow other men against himself.
For as long as every man holdeth this right, of doing anything he liketh; so long are all men in the condition of war…The mutual transferring of right is that which men call CONTRACT….
Again, one of the contractors may deliver the thing contracted for on his part, and leave the other to perform his part at some determinate time after, and in the meantime be trusted; and then the contract on his part is called PACT, or COVENANT….If a covenant be made wherein neither of the parties perform presently, but trust one another, in the condition of mere nature (which is a condition of war of every man against every man) upon any reasonable suspicion, it is void: but if there be a common power set over them both, with right and force sufficient to compel performance, it is not void.
Hobbes, Thomas, and Richard Tuck. Leviathan. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. Print.
Thomas Hobbes wrote during the time of King Charles I of England and the English Civil War. For Hobbes, the most significant danger for a society was…