Differences Between The Social Contract Theory Of John Locke And Thomas Hobbes
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What is Social Contract Theory?
The concept of social contract theory is that in the beginning man lived in the state of
nature. They had no government and there was no law to regulate them. There were
hardships and oppression on the sections of the society. To overcome from these
hardships they entered into two agreements which are:-
1. ǲPactum Unionisǳ; and 2. ǲPactum Subjectionisǳ. By the first pact of unionis, people sought protection of their lives and property. As,
a result of it a society was formed where people undertook to respect each other and
live in peace and harmony. By the second pact of subjectionis, people united together
and pledged to obey an authority and surrendered the whole or part of their freedom
and rights to an authority. The authority guaranteed everyone protection of life,
property and to a certain extent liberty. Thus, they must agree to establish society by
collectively and reciprocally renouncing the rights they had against one another in the State
of Nature and they must imbue some one person or assembly of persons with the authority
and power to enforce the initial contract. In other words, to ensure their escape from the
State of Nature, they must both agree to live together under common laws, and create
an enforcement mechanism for the social contract and the laws that constitute it. Thus, the
authority or the government or the sovereign or the state came into being because of
the two agreements.
Analysis of the theory of Social Contract by Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes theory of Social Contract appeared for the first time in Leviathan published in the year 1651 during the Civil War in Britain. Thomas Hobbesǯ legal theory is based on ǲSocial contractǳ. According to him, prior to Social Contract, man lived in the State of Nature. Manǯs life in the State of NATURE was one of fear and selfishness. Man lived in chaotic condition of constant fear. Life in the State of Nature was Ǯsolitaryǯ, Ǯpoorǯ, Ǯnastyǯ, Ǯbrutishǯ, and Ǯshortǯ. Man has a natural desire for security and order. In order to secure self-
protection and self-preservation, and to avoid misery and pain, man entered
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into a contract. This idea of self-preservation and self-protection are inherent in manǯs nature and in order to achieve this, they voluntarily surrendered all their rights and freedoms to some authority by this contract who must command
obedience. As a result of this contract, the mightiest authority is to protect and
preserve their lives and property. This led to the emergence of the institution of the ǲrulerǳ or...
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Show MoreThe Social Contract is an attempt to explain the reason why individuals agree to form organized governments. The idea that a person is willing to abandon the freedoms previously enjoyed under the State of Nature in which no government interfered with their pursuits, are believed to correspond to the individual’s attempt to protect what is on their best interest. Under this condition, moral and political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among the people to form the society in which they live. Philosophers who advocated the Social Contract Theory believed that because individuals existed before the government did, governments arose exclusively to meet and satisfy the social and economic needs of the public. Men…show more content…
Since a sovereign is endowed with the authority and power to punish offenders of the contract, and given the brutish conditions under the state of nature; men will have good self-interested reasons to adjust to the new laws, morality and justice rather than being able to act as they please. In this way society becomes possible because now there is superior and more powerful person who can force men to cooperate; whereas in the State of Nature there was no power able to control them all. While living under the authority of a Sovereign can be unforgiving it is at least better than living in the State of Nature. Because it doesn’t matter how much we complain about poor management of the state’ dealings and/or regulations imposed to us. There are no excuses for resisting power because it is the only thing between us and what we most want to avoid, the State of Nature. John Locke had a different approach as to the kind of place the State of Nature is, and consequently his argument concerning the Social Contract and the relationship between men and authority varies. According to Locke, the State of Nature is the natural condition of mankind. In it men have perfect and complete liberty to conduct their life as they best determine, free from the interference of others. However, this doesn’t mean that men are free to do anything they please,