Social Contract: Thomas Hobbes, John-Jacques Rousseau

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The Best Fit Social Contract The modern theory of the social contract comes from the theories of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Montesquieu, and John-Jacques Rousseau. They each had their own ideas as to what a social contract is and why it should be implemented into society. Hobbes believed that the social contract was an implied agreement among the people to give up their natural rights and bestow absolute control to a sovereign. Locke thought the social contract was an agreement between the people and a sovereign. He said that the people’s natural rights could never be taken away. Montesquieu held that the government should keep order, liberty, and property of the people. He also believed that the government should not have absolute power but …show more content…
According to him, this placed people in a state of fear and selfishness. He considered it a state of war. A social contract would then be placed so that man does not have to live in such poor and brutish conditions. He said that man had a natural desire for security and order. The social contract was then put in place to secure man’s need for protection. Hobbes believed that the social contract was a “compact between the subject to obey the sovereign” (Montmorency 53). The problem with Hobbes’ theory starts with his belief that all humans are inherently selfish. He believes that people only work for their best interests, however, he also says that they have the rational capacity to create the best means to the end they want (Friend). He argues that man would choose to give up all of their natural rights because they believe that it is their best option for self-preservation. The population, for the most part, would not be willing to give absolute power to one sovereign. They would not all willingly decide that they would rather give up all of their power for the hopes that one person or one group would protect them in every way. If every person is only working for their own self-interest, then who is to say that the leader that they choose would not do the same. According to Hobbes’ theory of human nature, the people in charge would also only work towards their own goals and not help out their …show more content…
He argued that the state of nature was a peaceful era in which the people lived peacefully on their own, satisfied by nature. This was all a long time ago when the population itself was small giving everyone all the room they needed from each other. Later on the population started growing and people started to form communities. The purpose of the social contract in this theory is to create an agreement to form a society and to create a balance between individual liberties and the general will (Friend). The society has to find ways to keep their freedoms while also becoming a community to protect their freedoms. Rousseau’s idea was to create a true democracy in which the rules and regulations of the society were chose by the majority and general will of the people. Those who disagreed were forced to follow the general will and if they did not want to they could leave the state. The government would be “entrusted with administering the general will” of the public in order to keep everyone on the same page (Costly). He favored a direct democracy where the people would be heard directly by the government instead of through elected officials. The problem with this is that societies are much larger. Having a direct democracy in which in order to be heard you’d have to go and tell the government yourself is unrealistic. Many people would opt out of it as they would not

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