The basic notion of Social Contract theory is that it is the moral and political obligation of the people top form a society. Though the concept of the Social Contract theory was developed during the time of the development of Philosophy, however, the theory was first introduced to the world and to the by the modern social thinkers. The modern socio- political thinkers, like Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and John Locke, are the ones who have introduced the concepts of social Contract theory and the ideas and the concepts that they had proposed, profoundly influenced upon the theory. The social contract theory is one of the most dominant political theory that had influenced the political and social ideologies of the modern west.
The Social Contract theory got popularized during the times of enlightenment and validates the power and the authority of the state over its citizens. The main idea of the concept is that the individuals explicitly or tacitly give in their freedoms and surrender themselves and submit to the authority of the state in the exchange of security and protection of their lives and their assets. The social contract theory starts with the condition of the human beings and the human lives in the absence of an absolute power like the power of the state. According to John Rawls, a famous sociologist, the social contract theory can be defined as the theory that legitimizes the political authority of the state or the obligations of the rulers and validates the power relationship between the ruler and his subjects or between the state and its citizens. Another definition as propounded by the social thinkers is that, the social contract theory talks about the contract between an individual and the pre- political or pre- social conditions, upon which the former decides to initiate the conditionings of a society or decides to submit to the authority of the state. Therefore, it can also be defined as the equipment that act as a catalyst to initiate a socio- political conditioning and validates the power relationship between the state and the individuals. The social contract theory explains the mechanism for the initiation of the new society.
Therefore, the central idea or the central theme of the concept is that the social contract theory is an instrument that legalize the power relation and the power hierarchy observed with a socio- political set up. The theory also talks about the duties and the obligations of the state towards the individuals or its citizens. Therefore, it can be said that the social contract theory provides certain terms and conditions that bins the society, the state and the people together and both the state and the individuals must identify with the terms and conditions and further follow the same. This simply notes that there are certain duties that the state must perform, and if there is discrepancy, in the situation, then the people can go against the state. At the same time, there are certain rules and regulations that the individuals must consider and keep in mind and they can be penalized for their incongruity in behavior.
The examples of the Social Contract theory refers to the different ideologies provided by the different socio- political thinkers. Following are some of the most important theorist who had profoundly influenced the concept of social contract theory.
Thomas Hobbes: Hobbes was the first modern philosopher who had developed the modern concept of the social contract theory, in his book Leviathan. The theorist was of the opinion that in the pre- political social condition, the lives of the people were anarchical and asocial. The state of their lives were solitary and self-centered and apolitical and they had no concept of sovereignty. They had no concept of society, however with the initiation of state as a governing system, there is a direction in their lives, they are ware f their individual rights, and their human rights. They have a consistency and their behavior is now systematic. They have grown the sense of solidarity and the sense of belonging together. The theorist said that the initiation of the concept of State has introduced an order and discipline with the system and also have provided the people with the idea of growing together.
John Locke: The concept of Social Contract Theory developed by Locke, differs that the concepts of Hobbes. Locke was of the opinion that people would come voluntarily together to form a state. Locke believed that it is the moral nature of the people, to come forward and bound a society together. It is the law of nature that all the human beings are the social animals therefore, it is their innate nature to form a society together. While discussing about the state, Locke propounded that the legitimacy of the government come from the delegation of the people to initiate the system of state, with the provision of absolute power, to preserve and provide individual rights and to initiate a discipline and system within the society.
Jean Jacques Rousseau: Rousseau had introduced the concept Social Contract theory from a more political perspective. In his book, The Social Contract, he stated that in order to initiate the understanding of complete freedom, there must be some laws and rules and regulations, from which, the individuals will be free, and it is the state, as an absolute power, which will exercise the maintenance if this rules and regulations. He also proposed the fact that as often perceived, the individuals do not understand their real will, and therefore, it is the role of the leaders or the social or political leaders to direct them and to tell them their real will. He compared the state with the concept of Religion, and stated that, as the religion provides certain guidelines, the state will as well provide certain guidelines, and it is thus, the people can enjoy total freedom, free will and a direction and discipline in their life.
Therefore, these are the some of the most influential examples of the social contract theory.
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