Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an English philosopher who had two central beliefs. First, he was a materialist, and felt that there is nothing more to the human mind than what we see in life. Second, Hobbes was a cynic, who believed that man is essentially a selfish creature who lives in fear of death. Hobbes most famous work was the Leviathan (1651), in which he argues that man's selfish nature requires a social contract between man and government, so that government can impose law and order. Hobbes felt that an absolute monarchy was inevitable due to man's defective nature.
Hobbes' idea of a social contract was picked up by John Locke for a different philosophy, and then embraced in different form by the American Declaration of Independence.