The social context of Hobbes's political thought is ripe for reassessment in light of advances in the social history of seventeenth-century England in the past half-century. The evidence does not support C. B. Macpherson's claim that England had a “possessive market society” which became the social model for Hobbes's political theory, nor the case that Hobbes was a bourgeois ideologist. A new examination of his social theory, his social identity, his social prejudices and his understanding of what we today call social class instead produces a picture of an intellectual of the “middle sort” with strong aristocratic, pro-court sentiments. A clearer understanding of his social views would probably have prevented the current controversy over his political sentiments or channeled it in a different direction. The issues make a strong case for more social contextualization at the macro level of analysis in intellectual history.