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Social contract theory is the oldest and also most famous of all theories regarding the origin of the state.
This theory states that the origin of state is the result of an agreement entered into by man who originally
had no governmental association. The chief exponents of this theory were Thomas Hobbes (1588), John
Locke (1632) and Rousseau (1712). But this individual writers hold different views when it comes
explanation. But all of them discussed the common beliefs like human nature, state of nature, agreement
and result. Social contract theory derives its authority from the consent of the people. They are the
instrumentality of the agreement. People were regarded as the source of political authority according to
this theory.

Social contract theory, almost as old as theory itself, is the view that persons' ethical and/or political
commitments are subordinate upon an agreement or understanding around them to structure the social
order in which they live. Socrates utilization something very like a social contract contention to illustrate
to Crito why he must stay in jail and acknowledge capital punishment. Nonetheless, social contract theory
is rightly connected with cutting edge moral and political theory and is provided for its first full work and
protection by Thomas Hobbes. After Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are the best known
advocates of this colossally persuasive theory, which has been a standout amongst the most
overwhelming speculations inside good and political theory all around the historical backdrop of the
cutting edge West. In the twentieth century, moral and political theory recovered philosophical force as a
consequence of John Rawls' Kantian rendition of social contract theory, and was trailed by new dissects
of the subject by David Gauthier and others. All the more as of late, rationalists from alternate points of
view have offered new reactions of social contract theory. Specifically, feminists and race-cognizant
savants have contended that social contract theory is in any event a fragmented picture of our ethical and
political lives, and may truth be told disguise a portion of the routes in which the agreement is itself
parasitical upon the oppressions of classes of persons.
Some philosophers argue that the sovereign's power should be unlimited, because the state originates in a
so-called social contract, whereby individuals accept a common superior power to protect themselves
from their own brutish instincts and to make possible the satisfaction of certain human desires. In
contrary it is also argued that sovereignty resides in the people for whom governments are trustees
and that such governments can legitimately be overthrown if they fail to discharge their functions to
the people. Therefore, the philosophical underpinnings behind social contract theory are the origin and
legitimacy of the government, the origin of the law, the reasons as why to obey the law and how people
can punish the government in case they fail to fulfil their functions.

The thought of a "social contract" has been utilized at different times (by scholars like Plato, Locke,
Rousseau, and Hobbes) as a demonstration for the beginnings of social order, as a legitimization for the
ebb and flow social structures, and as a support for the momentum nature of social order rather than
other conceivable social frameworks. At its most essential, the idea is that people, living totally freely,
uninhibitedly decide to tie themselves to one another in a social framework. On a basic level, every
individual surrender a portion of the things they could do while autonomous with a specific end goal to
profit from the assurance of the gathering.

Ordinarily, the thought of a "social contract" is utilized to defend the thought that a group or a legislature
ought to have almost no in the method for controls over parts and nationals. Since every individual
begins in a "natural" state of aggregate opportunity, government is "unnatural" and ought to be held
under tight restraints. Tragically, it is troublesome for the "social contract" to be utilized as much else
besides an ideological prop thus in light of the fact that no such unique, "natural" state of freedom has
existed for people - we have advanced as social creatures and have constantly existed as a piece of social

Some take such a story literally, but many regard it as a "useful fiction" - not something which is literally
true, but rather a helpful way to understand how society works and how individuals in society should be
treated. However, if there was never a literal social contract, the usefulness of this fiction may be very

Some theorists have used the concept of a "social contract" to justify greater government involvement in
people's lives, for example John Rawls. According to Rawls, we should construct our social
arrangements from behind a "veil of ignorance." We should imagine that we will join society without
knowing what class, race, or other social group we will belong to. In this way, the "social contract" we
create will be the most equitable possible.

Social contract is a convention between men that aims to discard the state of nature. Under state of nature
people live without government or written laws. People live under principles of justice that all normal
people can see through reason, they include right to life, liberty and estates. Most people seek to follow
these principles but the problem is lack of explicit written laws that leads to uncertainty and difficulty to
resolve disputes.

And a solution to the problems under state of nature becomes a social contract where people agree to
obey the state, let the state make and enforce laws and people pay the state for its services. The state sets
up legislatures, impartial judges and enforcers. The governments duty is to protect everyones rights and
if the government violates the social contract, people may overthrow it.

Social contract theory expresses two fundamental ideas to which the human mind always clings the value
of liberty; the idea that will and not force is the basis of government; and the value of justice or the
idea that right and not might is the basis of all political society and of every system of political

The theory seeks to explain the formation of societies and governments. Despite the great variations on
some points, the social contract theory mainly focuses on the voluntary consent that people give to the
formation of the government.2 Moreover, the theory denotes an implicit agreement within a State
regarding the rights and responsibilities of the State, i.e. the government and its citizens.3 It is an
explicit or implicit agreement and it emphasizes the rights of citizens in their relationship to their
government. The theory posits that rights of citizens are prior to and more fundamental than the
organization of society under the government.4 The governed, in essence, should be the governors. The
idea of self-government is posited as an end in itself. A political order offering opportunities for
participation in the arrangement of public affairs should not just be a State, but rather, the formation of
a type of society in which the affairs of the State are integrated into affairs of ordinary citizens.5

BARKER, E, (1960)Social Contract Essays by Locke, Hume, and Rousseau; Oxford University Press; USA; p. viii
BURKE, E (1971)State Formation and Social Contract Theory: Rwenzuru and the Southern Sudan; A Paper
Delivered to the African Studies Association Conference; Denver;; p.8
Wikipedia; A Free Internet Encyclopedia; visit
ZACK, N (2006)Philosophy and Disaster Homeland Security Affairs; Volume II; Issue 1; Homeland Security
Affairs is an online academic journal of the Centre for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS); visit
WAMBALI, M. K. B, (1997) Democracy and Human Rights in Tanzania Mainland: The Bill of Rights in the Context
of Constitutional Developments and the History of Institutions of Governance PhD Thesis; University of Warwick

Following could be stated as criticism of Social Contract theory:-

From the historical point of view, the Social Contract theory is not acceptable. History does not
give single evidence which could indicate that there was a stable society.

This theory is illogical and baseless. How could men who had no knowledge of political
organization suddenly think of a State and form it?

The progress of the society has been from status to contract. Contract is not the beginning but
the end of society.

The Social Contract theory is dangerous because it leads to anarchy.

There cannot be one sided contract as expounded by Hobbes. Contract by one party cannot
necessarily bind the descendants of those who originally entered into the contract.

The relation between individual and State is not by contract but by birth.

The theory assumes that all men were equal. But there was inequality in the state of nature.

Historically it has been proved that the State is not the result of any artificial and superfluous
attempts but that it is a growth.

Rights are always followed by duties but, the theory contains rights without duties and

Contract among individuals does not create public rights as the contract preliminary gives
personal benefit.
Given the longstanding and widespread influence that social contract theory has had, it comes as no
surprise that it is also the objects of many critiques from a variety of philosophical perspectives.
Feminists and race-conscious philosophers, in particular, have made important arguments
concerning the substance and viability of social contract theory.
1. Feminist Argument- For the most part, feminism resists any simple or universal definition.
In general though, feminists take womens experiences seriously, as well as the impact that
theories and practices have for womens lives.
The Sexual Contract
The Nature of the Liberal Individual
Arguing from Care

2. Race Conscious Argument- Charles Mills 1997 book, The Racial Contract, is a critique not
only of the history of Western political thought, institutions, and practices, but, more
specifically, of the history of social contract theory. It is inspired by Carole Patemans The
Sexual Contract, and seeks to show that non-whites have a similar relationship to the social
contract as do women.

Also there has been Criticism that it is based on a fiction: there is no actual contract. The social contract
is an implicit agreement among self-interested, rational agents. This seems to imply we have no duties to
beings that are not able to participate (even implicitly) in the contract. Examples: nonhuman animals,
those with mental disabilities.

The parameters of social contract theory of John Locke in some instances fail to hold water like in cases
where some states were formed through usurpation or conquest. In such cases there is no free will to be
ruled and the obedience to the government is mandatory. For example, the recent cases in Kenya and
Zimbabwe, there were formed coalition governments of which were not based on the will of the people
but the will of the rulers. Moreover, in some jurisdictions like Tanzania rulers come into power by
simple majority of the votes, but how will the WILL of the remained be protected? Will these persons
who voted against the winner be part of the said social contract?

Following is the importance or value of Social Contract theory:-

The Social Contract Theory helped in the political development of society. It points out that the
State is a human institution created by the people for their welfare and well-being. It recognized
the relationship between the State and the people.

It emphasized that State is a human institution and not divine.

It helped in discouraging despotic rule of irresponsible monarchs.

It laid the foundation of democracy and the growth of democratic ideas.

It inspired to rebel people against cruel monarchs.

The democratic countries included fundamental rights in their constitutions.

This theory paved the way for the theory of separation of powers.

The theory of Social Contract has helped the development of the modern concept of sovereignty.

Elements in the Social Contract Theory

There are three elements in the social contract theory. They are: State of Nature, Social Contract and
Sovereign or Supreme Power.
State of Nature
According to Hobbes, man lived in darkness. He led a life of an animal. The guiding principle of the
state of nature was 'might is right'. It ws a state of wild savagery and man led a lonely and poor life. It
was a state of war and rivalry. 'Kill whom you can, take what you can' was the order of the day.
Locke says that man led a peaceful and natural life in the state of nature. The right to life, the right to
property and the right to liberty were enjoyed by man according to natural law. But there was no
government to regulate the rights. So there was no security for these rights. According to Locke, state of
nature is a state of insecurity.
According to Rousseau, man was a 'noble savage'. He led a peaceful life and enjoyed the bliss. It was a
golden age. Man was moral, simple and happy. Soon these conditions changed with the establishment of
private property. Man became selfish and wicked, corrupt, cruel and cunning. The life became precarious
in the State of nature.

Social Contract
Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau differ on the nature of contract though they agree that men made a contract
and established a State and led a richer, fuller and happier life.
According to Hobbes, there was only one contract. It was made by people themselves. By this contract
they established both the State and the Government. The people surrendered their rights to the ruler.
As per Locke, there were two contracts. The first contract called, social contract, was made by people
themselves. By this they established a civil society, i.e., State. The second contract was called
governmental contract or political contract. It was made between the people and the ruler. By this they
established a government.
To Rousseau, there was one contract made by the people. By this, they established a civil society, i.e.,

Sovereign or Supreme Power

People entered into a civil society through a contract from the state of nature. They surrendered their
rights to the sovereign and in return got liberty, security and order. Here again Hobbes, Locke and
Rousseau differ.
For Hobbes, sovereignty is indivisible, inalienable and absolute. People had completely surrendered their
rights to a sovereign. His will was law and, law was his command. Hobbes pleads for absolute
Locke pleads for a limited government or constitutional monarchy. For him community is the sovereign
and Government is only a trust or a fiduciary agency. If it violates the contract, people have the right to
rebel against it and change it.
For Rousseau, general will is sovereign. His sovereign is responsible and also despotic. He pleads for
direct democracy and popular sovereignty.
Important exponents of the theory

The three important exponents of this theory were Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau.

Thomas Hobbes Theory of Social Contract

Thomas Hobbes, 1588-1679, existed throughout the most urgent time of promptly up to date England's
history: the English Civil War, pursued from 1642-1648. To depict this clash in the most general of
terms, it was a crash between the King and his supporters, the Monarchists, who favored the customary
power of a ruler, and the Parliamentarians, most eminently headed by Oliver Cromwell, who requested
more power for the semi fair organization of Parliament. Hobbes speaks to a tradeoff between these two
factions. From one viewpoint he rejects the hypothesis of the Divine Right of Kings, which is most
persuasively communicated by Robert Filmer in his Patriarcha or the Natural Power of Kings, (despite
the fact that it might be left to John Locke to invalidate Filmer straightforwardly). Filmer's perspective
held that a lord's power was put resources into him (or, apparently, her) by God, that such power was
supreme, and accordingly that the premise of political commitment lay in our commitment to obey God
totally. As stated by this perspective, then, political commitment is subsumed under religious
commitment. Then again, Hobbes likewise rejects the early popularity based perspective, consumed by
the Parliamentarians, that power should be imparted between Parliament and the King. In dismissing
both these perspectives, Hobbes involves the ground of one is who both radical and traditionalist. He
contends, profoundly for his times, that political power and commitment are dependent upon the singular
premiums toward oneself of parts of social order who are comprehended to be equivalent to each one in
turn, with no single singular contributed with any vital power to administer over the rest, while in the
meantime supporting the moderate position that the ruler, which he called the Sovereign, must be ceded
outright power if social order is to survive.
Hobbes' political theory is best comprehended if taken in two parts: his theory of human inspiration,
Psychological Egoism, and his theory of the social contract, established on the speculative State of
Nature. Hobbes has, above all else, a specific theory of personal temperament, which offers ascent to a
specific perspective of ethical quality and governmental issues, as created in his philosophical perfect
work of art, Leviathan, distributed in 1651. The Scientific Revolution, with its essential new revelations
that the universe could be both portrayed and anticipated as per widespread laws of nature, enormously
impacted Hobbes. He looked to give a theory of personal inclination that might parallel the disclosures
being made in the sciences of the spiritless universe. His mental theory is subsequently educated by
component, the general view that everything in the universe is prepared by nothing other than matter in
movement. As stated by Hobbes, this stretches out to human conduct. Human macro-conduct might be
apropos portrayed as the impact of specific sorts of micro-conduct, despite the fact that some of this last
conduct is undetectable to us. Thus, such practices as strolling, talking, and so forth are themselves
handled by different movements within us. Furthermore these different activities are themselves created
by the association of our bodies with different bodies, human or overall, which make in us certain chains
of circumstances and end results, and which in the end offer ascent to the human conduct that we can
evidently watch. We, including the sum of our activities and decisions, are then, as stated by this
perspective, as logical regarding all inclusive laws of nature as are the movements of glorious bodies.
The continuous breaking down of memory, for instance, could be demonstrated by idleness. As we are
exhibited with steadily tactile data, the deposit of prior impressions 'backs off' about whether. From
Hobbes' perspective, we are basically exceptionally confounded natural machines, reacting to the boosts
of the world unthinkingly and as per widespread laws of free will.
In Hobbes' perspective, this robotic nature of human brain science intimates the subjective nature of
regularizing cases. "Love" and 'disdain', for example, are simply words we use to depict the things we
are attracted to and repulsed by, individually. Thus, too, the expressions "great" and "terrible" have no
importance other than to depict our cravings and repugnance. Good terms don't, along these lines,
portray some goal state of issues; however are noticeably impressions of distinctive tastes and
Notwithstanding Subjectivism, Hobbes likewise surmises from his robotic theory of individual
temperament that people are essentially and only self-intrigued. All men seek after just what they see to
be in their independently acknowledged best investment they react unthinkingly by being attracted to
that which they crave and repulsed by that to which they are disinclined. This is an all-inclusive case: it
is intended to blanket all human activities under all circumstances in the public arena or out of it, with
respect to strangers and companions much the same, as too little closures and the most summed up of
human wishes, for example, the longing for force and status. All that we do is spurred singularly by the
longing to better our own particular circumstances, and fulfill whatever number of our own, exclusively
recognized wishes as could reasonably be expected. We are unendingly appetitive and just truly
concerned with our own particular selves. As stated by Hobbes, even the reason that grown-ups look
after little kids might be elucidated regarding the grown-ups' own particular financing toward oneself (he
guarantees that in sparing a newborn child via tending to it, we turn into the beneficiary of a solid feeling
of commitment in one who has been served to survive instead of permitted to pass.
Notwithstanding being only self-intrigued, Hobbes additionally contends that individuals are sensible.
They have in them the objective ability to seek after their yearnings as effectively and maximally as
could reasonably be expected. Their reason does not, given the subjective nature of quality, assess their
given closures, rather it simply goes about as "Scouts, and Spies, to run abroad, and find the path to the
things Desired" (139). Reasonability is absolutely instrumental. It can include and subtract, and measure
up entireties one to an alternate, and in this manner enriches us with the ability to detail the best intends
to whatever finishes we may happen to have.
As stated by Hobbes, the support for political commitment is this: given that men are characteristically
self-intrigued, yet they are objective, they will decide to submit to the power of a Sovereign to have the
capacity to live in a common social order, which is helpful for their own particular diversions. Hobbes
contends for this by envisioning men in their common state, or at the end of the day, the State of Nature.
In the State of Nature, which is simply speculative as stated by Hobbes, men are characteristically and
only self-intrigued, they are pretty much equivalent to each other, (even the strongest man might be
slaughtered in his slumber), there are constrained assets, but then there is no force fit to compel men to
coordinate. Given these conditions in the State of Nature, Hobbes presumes that the State of Nature
might be intolerably ruthless. In the State of Nature, each individual is constantly in dread of losing his
life to an alternate. They have no ability to guarantee the long haul fulfillment of their needs or cravings.
No long haul or complex participation is conceivable on the grounds that the State of Nature could be
apropos portrayed as a state of absolute doubt. Given Hobbes' sensible supposition that most individuals
need above all else to stay away from their passing, he infers that the State of Nature is the most
exceedingly awful conceivable circumstance in which men can end up. It is the state of ceaseless and
unavoidable war.
The circumstance is not, be that as it may, sad. Since men are sensible, they can see out of such a state by
distinguishing the laws of nature, which reveal to them the methods by which to escape the State of
Nature and make a common social order. The main and most imperative law of nature summons that
each one man be eager to seek after peace when others are ready to do the same, at the same time holding
the right to keep on pursuing war when others don't seek after peace. Being sensible, and distinguishing
the levelheadedness of this essential statute of reason, men might be relied upon to develop a Social
Contract that will bear the cost of them a life other than that accessible to them in the State of Nature.
This agreement is constituted by two recognizable contracts. In the first place, they must consent to
create social order by and large and proportionally revoking the rights they had against each one in turn
in the State of Nature. Second, they must pervade somebody individual or get together of persons with
the power and force to authorize the starting contract. At the end of the day, to guarantee their break
from the State of Nature, they should both consent to live together under regular laws, and make a
requirement system for the social contract and the laws that constitute it. Since the sovereign is
contributed with the power and force to dispense disciplines for breaks of the agreement which are more
terrible than not having the capacity to go about as one satisfies, men have great, though charmed toward
oneself, motivation to modify themselves to the guile of ethical quality by and large, and equity
specifically. Social order gets conceivable in light of the fact that, though in the State of Nature there was
no force equipped to "overawe every one of them", now there is a misleadingly and expectedly unrivaled
and all the more influential individual who can constrain men to collaborate. While living under the
power of a Sovereign might be cruel (Hobbes contends that on the grounds that men's energies could be
required to overpower their reason, the Sovereign must have supreme power in place for the agreement
to be fruitful) it is at any rate superior to living in the State of Nature. What's more, regardless of the
extent to which we may protest how defectively a Sovereign deals with the undertakings of the state and
directs our own particular lives, we are never supported in opposing his energy in light of the fact that it
is the main thing which remains between us and what we most need to evade, the State of Nature.
As stated by this contention, ethical quality, governmental issues, social order, and everything that sticks
it, all of which Hobbes calls 'ample living' are simply accepted. Before the foundation of the essential
social contract, as stated by which men consent to live together and the agreement to exemplify a
Sovereign with total power, nothing is indecent or unjustifiable anything goes. After these agreement
are secured, be that as it may, then social order gets conceivable, and individuals could be relied upon to
keep their guarantees, participate with each one in turn, et cetera. The Social Contract is the most
essential wellspring of all that is great and that which we rely on to live well. Our decision is either to
keep the terms of the agreement, or come back to the State of Nature, which Hobbes contends no
sensible individual could conceivably favor.
Given his noticeably extreme perspective of personal temperament, Hobbes regardless figures out how to
make a contention that makes civil social order, alongside all its points of interest, conceivable. Inside
the setting of the political occasions of his England, he likewise figured out how to contend for a
continuation of the conventional manifestation of power that his social order had since a long time ago
delighted in, while in any case putting it on what he saw as a significantly more adequate establishment.

Hobbes view of State of Nature

Man is moved by passions fear
A condition of license exists so that man may do what he likes
There is no difference between right and wrong, there is perpetual warfare
There is continual fear of violence, death, etc.

Hobbes view of Human Nature

Human were egoistic and selfish who only believed for seeking their own pleasure and wealth
who had their bitterness among themselves.
They were bodily and physically strong but others were fast , cunning and clever who possessed

Hobbes Contract
Social contract is all individuals surrender their all rights in favor of one man who offers no
pledge of any kind.
Contract is unilateral; it is not binding on the sovereign - the leviathan or the master less man.
Hobbes State and Government
State is created by social contract in which sovereignty is vested in the king, the authority is
absolute, unlimited, above law.
Individuals have no right to revolt except in the situation of defending their life against royal
invasion on it; the existence of all powerful kings is the proof of the existence of commonwealth-
society, state and government which are not distinguishable.

Principles of Hobbes Social Contract Theory

State was the result of a contract.

It was a social contract but not a governmental contract.
Life is the state of nature was solitary miserable, nasty and short.
Sovereign was not a party to the contract.
The contract became a perpetual bond.
The people had to abide by the contract.
The people were obedient to the ruler.
The subjects could enjoy those rights which were permitted by the sovereign.
The people surrendered all their rights and administrative power to the sovereign.
The right to revolt against the sovereign was deemed to the people.
The sovereign had the power to impose justice and deal with disputes.
Sovereignty was absolute and indivisible.
Liberty was the gift of the sovereign.
The basis for the origin of State was the sentiment of fear.
There was no distinction between State and Government.
Importance of Hobbes Social Contract Theory
Hobbes was the first political thinker in the entire Europe who tried to prove that the State was
not a divine institute but a human institute unlike the principles of Divine Origin Theory.
He was the first English political philosopher to recognize the value of social order and
He was the 1st political thinker to present the concept.
He tried to prove the fact that lawlessness and anarchy could be put down only by despotic.

Criticism to Hobbes Social Contract Theory

Hobbes Social Contract Theory is historically false, legally unsound and practically dangerous.
His state of nature is just a fiction of imagination.
He fails to distinguish the State from the Government.
He fails to recognize the theory of political sovereignty.
The notion that people having no knowledge of the society could make social contract is
Social Contract Theory of Locke

John Locke (1632-1704) was a philosopher at oxford, England. The Englishman was credited with
starting the age of enlightenment with his an essay concerning human understanding of 1689. He wrote
an essay concerning the true, original, extent, and end of civil government and two treatises of
government in 1680 which developed the social contract theory. The theory profoundly influenced the
American revolutionaries and it was included in the declaration of independence. Locke stated, men
being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate
and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent, which is done by agreeing with
other men, to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living, one
amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any that are not
of it. The social contract theory as previously stated was implemented in the United States of America.
The government that was produced is still beneficial and enduring, a posteriori. The constitutionally
limited republic of the U.S. is a success because the theory is a basis for good government. Good
government is produced because it allows individuals to order political life in a way that serves their
interests. If government is detrimental to their interests, Locke theorized that individuals have a duty to
change the government. Men being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and independent
Natural law postulates that there are objective laws that transcend subjectivity. The laws can be known
through reason. Natural rights, components of natural law, are granted by god. The rights are life, liberty,
and property. These rights are inalienable and indefeasible. These rights existed before government in the
state of nature. Thomas Jefferson, in the declaration of independence, stated , we hold these truths to be
self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain
unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No one can be put
out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent, which is done
by agreeing with other men, to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable
living, one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any
that are not of it. The previous quote describes a social contract. The social contract is an agreement
between individuals and government. They form the agreement to secure life, liberty, and property.
Individuals grant authority to government. The tacit contract is valid as long as government protects
natural rights. Government loose legitimacy if natural rights are violated. Individuals have a duty to
revolt in this case. The preamble of the U.S. Constitution states, we the people of the united states, in
order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common
defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,
do ordain and establish this constitution. The previous quote describes the social contract of the U.S.
The American Revolution and founding was a social experiment that implemented the social contract
theory of Locke. The American colonists were oppressed. They believed their natural rights were being
violated. So they revolted. The revolution was a success and they formed a social contract, the U.S.
Constitution. The experiment has produced a prosperous and free people for hundreds of years, a
posteriori. Plato would not agree with the social contract theory. He believed the ideal state should be
structured like a pyramid. The top class would be the rulers. The middle class would be the warriors. The
bottom class would be the workers. The ideal state structure is based on Platos tri-partite man. Mans
brain contained intellect and reason. Thus the ruling class consisted of intellectuals. Mans heart
contained emotion and spirit. Thus the warrior class consisted of athletes. Mans sex organs contained
appetites and desires. Thus the worker class consisted of the uneducated and physically immature. Plato
would especially disagree with the locks idea of the duty to revolt. Plato believed that individuals have
an absolute obligation to obey government. His belief is described in this quote, whereas you, above all
other Athenians, seemed to be so fond of the state, or, in other words, of us her laws(for who would like
a state that has no laws), that you never stirred out of her and now you run away and for sake your
agreements, not so, Socrates, if you will take our advice; do not make yourself ridiculous by escaping out
of the city(Plato, we have an absolute obligation to obey the government, 512). The ideal state of Plato
was implemented in the totalitarian regimes of imperialism, monarchism, fascism, and communism. The
elite in these systems ruled over the masses. History indicates that the masses were oppressed and not
prosperous, a priori. These systems are fading away and are being replaced by democracy based on the
social contract theory of John Locke. The historical battle for preeminence of political philosophy is
being won by John Locke. His social contract theory is winning because governments based on the
theory are enduring and beneficial to individuals. Good government is produced because it allows
individuals to order political life in a way that serves their interests. If government is detrimental to their
Interests, Locke theorized that individuals have a duty to change the government.6

Principles of Lockes Social Contract Theory
Lockes state of nature was a state of peace, goodwill and preservation.
Men in the state of nature were free to act within the limits of law of nature.
There were two contracts: namely, social contract and government contract.
The ruler was a party to the contract and government was a trustee.
The government was an agency to the State consisting of legislative, executive and
federative agency.
Locke made a distinction between State and Government.
The State was based on the consent of the people.

Importance of Lockes Social Contract Theory

Locke was the first theorist to propound the theory of the consent of people in the
political science.
His views created political awakening in Europe. It resulted in the development of
democracy. His ideas inspired the framers of American Constitution.
Locke gave the theory of Natural Rights. He gave world the systematic and rational
philosophy of individualism, political sovereignty and constitutional government.
The Doctrine of Constitutional Monarchy is a great contribution by him to political
science. Locke considered the government as a trust and people had the right to
remove the cruel monarch.
He pleaded for separation of legislature from executive.
Criticism to Lockes Theory
Lockes state of nature is unrealistic. There is no historical basis for this theory.
According to Locke, man enjoyed rights even before the origin of the State. It is
false because rights cannot be enjoyed in the absence of the State.
His emphasis on physical aspect of State and not on moral aspect.
Locke recognizes political sovereignty and ignores legal sovereignty.
Locke does not give clear view of the nature and location of sovereignty.
Locke fails to make distinction between the community as a social aggregation
and as a political body.
Social Contract Theory of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau's focal contention in The Social Contract is that legislature accomplishes its entitlement to
exist and to represent by "the assent of the represented." Today this may not appear to be excessively
amazing a thought, however it was a radical position when The Social Contract was distributed.
Rousseau examines various types of government that may not look extremely law based to up to date
eyes, yet his center was constantly on evaluating how to guarantee that the general will of all the
populace could be communicated as positively as would be prudent in their legislature. He generally
meant to evaluate how to make social order as just as could be expected under the circumstances. At one
point in The Social Contract, Rousseau reverently refers to the sample of the Roman republic's comitia to
demonstrate that even vast states made out of numerous individuals can hold get-togethers of all their
In the same way that he did in his Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau gets thoughts from the most
powerful political thinkers of his day; however he regularly reaches altogether different conclusions. For
instance, however his origination of social order as being much the same as a distinctive individual
resounds with Hobbes' origination of the Leviathan, Rousseau's naming of this allegorical distinct as the
sovereign leaves firmly from Hobbes, whose own concept of the sovereign was of the focal power that
held territory over all the populace. Rousseau, obviously, accepted the sovereign to be the populace and
to constantly express their will. In his exchange of the turbinate, or the court that intercedes in debate
between administrative limbs or around individuals, Rousseau echoes plans regarding government prior
communicated by Locke. Both Locke's and Rousseau's talks of these foundations impacted the
arrangement of balanced governance honored in the establishing reports of the United States.
The Social Contract is one of the absolute most essential revelations of the common privileges of man in
the historical backdrop of Western political reasoning. It presented in new and compelling ways the
thought of the "assent of the represented" and the basic sway of the populace, rather than the power of
the state or its ruler(s). It has been recognized over and over as a foundational content in the
advancement of the current standards of human rights that underlie contemporary originations of
majority rule government.
Features of Rousseaus Concept of General Will
The general will is not the will of all, nor is it the will of majority. It is the will of the people for
good for all.
The general will be sovereign. Every individual is obliged to follow it. If one refused to obey it,
he shall be compelled to do so.
The general will is indivisible and inalienable.
The general will is qualitative concept and not quantitative.
The general will is not an executive will. The people have entrusted their executive power to
their agent, the government.
The form of government is a matter of secondary importance.
The general will is permanent.

Importance of Rousseaus Theory of Social Contract

Rousseau opposed absolute kingship and justified revolutions against despotic monarchy.
He proposed direct democracy and opposed indirect democracy.
He found distinction between State and Government.
Rousseau gave the concept that will and not force is the creator of the State.
Rousseau proposed the concept of popular sovereignty. He advocated peoples right.

Criticism of Rousseaus Theory

His views are unhistorical and imaginary. History does not confirm his state of nature or the
creation of a State by means of a contract.
Rousseau leaves no safeguards in the hands of people against tyranny of the state the kind of
which we see in the system of Locke.
His concept of general will leads to absolute State .In the name of freedom man is forced to obey
the general will.
The individual is not given any freedom to oppose the general will
He does not make distinction between the State and Society.
The state of nature which Rousseau describes is also unreal and not logical.
Social Contract in the Modern World

Political power derived from social contract entails such power coming from the people and
not from above, whether from divine law or the grace of God. Thus, social contract theory of
John Locke is a forerunner of democratic theory i.e. the government of the people, by the
people and for the people. Thus, the modern democratic governments adhering to free and
fair election principles have their basis on social contract theory.

Parliamentary democracy existing in the modern world today is mainly influenced by John
Lockes idealism. His ideas gave theoretical form to the reaction against absolutism and the
preparation of parliamentary democracy. His greatest effect was upon the American and
French revolutions.

John Lockes doctrines of liberty and equality have exercised a strong influence upon the bill
of rights in modern constitutions in many countries including Tanzania. Liberty and equality
of an individual are highly respected and thus protected by the governments. And sovereignty
resides in the people as per John Lockes ideas.
Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau are the great supporters of the Social Contract Theory. But, they
hold different opinions about Social Contract theory. State of Nature in Hobbes theory says that
man is selfish; where is as in Lockes theory man is rational animal and Rousseau theory man
is divine savage. According to Hobbes, the ruler is absolute monarch, in Locke theory there is
limited monarchy and in Rousseau theory absolute will of people.
There is some similarity in all the 3 theories that at the time of state of nature all were having
chaos which resulted in fear and which led to contract. All the three theories had no historical
Also it is to be noted that, this theory focused mainly on the State of Nature, Social Contract and
State and Government.

Books Referred

Political Science by Dr. S.R. Myneni

BARKER, E, (1960) Social Contract Essays; Oxford University Press; USA
ZACK, (2006)Philosophy and Disaster
WAMBALI, M. K. B, (1997) Democracy and Human Rights in Tanzania Mainland:
The Bill of Rights in the Context of Constitutional Developments and the History of
Institutions of Governance

Sites Referred