University of Phoenix
Ethics in Justice and Security
February 29, 2010
Roger Long, JD
Social Contract Theory of John Locke
According to John Locke (1690), “the people give up some freedoms to the government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law.” When the people surrender some freedoms and the government agreed to work together towards a common goal, to promote equal protection for both the people and the government. Based on the agreement a government was created.
Therefore the government of the United States, has the powers to prosecute and punish individuals for criminal acts, and bears the responsibilities of providing public safety to the people through the police, court systems. We the people agree to obey civil and criminal law enforced by the government, and pays our taxes and the government agrees to treat us fairly and protect us and protects the country and our freedoms by uphold the Constitution.
John Locke influenced Thomas Jefferson and our Founding Fathers while writing “the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, Locke’s Social Contract Theory on America’s political and governmental system is undeniable” (Moll, 2006).
While writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, drew heavily from the writings of John Locke, and placed them in the Constitution. The social contract theory infuses both these documents. Thomas Jefferson adopted Locke's ideas people had rights to life, liberty, equality, and pursuit of happiness, the responsibility of government must protect those rights, and put them in the Constitution. The government was established from the consent of the people and therefore the power of government should be distributed among different institution.
The words “we the people” in the Preamble to the Constitution, illustrates the people have agreed to work in partnership with government to...