Asked in Founding FathersAmerican RevolutionPhilosophy and Philosophers
What is social contract theory?
May 05, 2016 4:54AM
The social contract theory holds that in earliest history man
lived in a "state of nature." No government existed. Each man was
only as secure as his own power and mental awareness could make
him. By agreeing with one another to make a state by contract, men
within a given area joined together, each surrendering personal
freedom as necessary to promote the safety and well being of all.
By this contract the members created a government. The social
contract gives rights and responsibilities to both the citizenry
and the government. For example, in The United States, citizens
yield the powers of prosecution of, and punishment for, criminal
offenses to the judicial branch of government. The government, for
its part, bears the responsibilities of maintaining public safety
for the citizens through the police, court systems, correctional
facilities, and all supporting structures. Answer The poster above
provides an excellent summary. To read first hand about social
contract theory, pick up Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.
A population in a place (territory) gave up power (as needed) to the government to promote the well-being of all. Doing so this created a sovereign state.