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The Social Contract

Includes: A Real Life Social Contract and the Controversial Theories

February 23, 2015

Written by: Kelly Kowalski

What is a Social Contract?

A social contract is the relationship between rulers and ruled (the government and the people). It is a voluntary agreement in which people agree to follow government rules. In return, the government protects national rights: life, liberty, and property. If the laws created by rulers are broken, one can be punished. If the government does not protect national rights, the people have the right to rebel.

A Real Life Social Contract:

John Locke

Thomas Hobbes

Contoversial

Theories:

Between 1787 and 1791 the Framers of the U.S. Constitution established a system of government upon principles that had been discussed and partially set in many countries.  It has only two basic terms: (1) mutual defense of rights; and (2) mutual decision by deliberative assembly. The constitution states the duties of the people as well as the government, in hopes to create a civil environment that best fits the needs of all people in the society.

Locke's Theory:

Hobbes's Theory:

2015

Power

Protection of Natural Rights

Life Liberty Property

Hobbes believes in totalitarianism and dictatorship. The strongest person needs to lead the people. If you don't have a dictator you will end up at war because people are selfish and you have no one to protect you. Essentially, if you don't have a dictator, you end up in a total war. Hobbes also believes that humans are inherently bad and naturally look out for themselves before looking out for other people. They also have to protect themselves even if it means hurting other people. People are ruled by passion and force.

Locke believes that people are inherently good and voluntarily unite to protect their natural rights because people see value in cooperation. Then, the government gets its power from the people: the people consent to follow the government while the government protects natural rights (life, liberty, and property). If the leader breaks the rules, retaliation is permitted to occur. People who are best suited (in the eyes of the nation) are put in to power because the people believe that he could do a good job.