Social Contract Theory

Social Contract Theory

Basic Principles of the Social Contract Theory:

The Social Contract theory is the foundation of the modern day constitution. It is described as an agreement among the people in a particular society whereby the people alienate certain of their natural rights in favor of the sovereign in return for a civilized society. It is founded on consent and contains general and specific conditions.

• Without the Social Contract, there would only be the “state of nature” as what took place prior to the development of a civilized society.

o The State of Nature is one where each person has unlimited liberty, possessing a right to everything. This means that each person has a right to own anything and the right to do anything although suffering from a perpetual risk of losing everything and be harmed by anyone. It is an endless ‘war of all against all’

o The state of nature only follows the law of might. In the state of nature, the stronger deposes the weaker. It is bound only by the law of force rather than the force of law. (Locke, however, disagrees with this concept)

• It is because of this continuing danger that people felt the need to convene and agree on certain principles in order to establish social order and maintain its resulting balance of power by creating positive rights such as the right to be respected of one’s life, property, and dignity

o Under the Social Contract, every person gives certain of his liberties granted by the “State of Nature” in exchange for a civilized society.
o It is a measure to maintain stability and to end the perpetual danger under the state of nature.
o The recipient of these sacrificed liberties is the sovereign which, in turn, fulfils its promise of protecting its every member.
o This agreement can be likened to an onerous contract, where each party gives or does something in return for a certain consideration and where violations of its terms brings...

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