Social Contract Theory of John Locke

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Criminological Theory

Lawanda Jones

University of Phoenix

CJA 540

Randall Norris

October 16, 2008

John Locke’s theory of the Social Contract is ”merely a reasoned description of sound government but also a history of government from the earliest scatterings of humans, through their association in a social contract, to their rebellion when the terms of that contract are breached.” 1 This theory gives us the reason behind the idea that government only works if the people want to be governed. Any individual in this instance has the expectation that they and what they do are only limited by their own will. So under the social contract theory, the individual gives up some of its right in order to reap the benefits of what a social order can offer. Introduction

Locke’s Theory says that before a society is formed men live “free” in a state of nature. In this society, although there are great things about living free in such a society, it carries the risk of having problems about all kinds of things and without a civil law authority; man was the arbiter of all. Locke’s theory brings to mind the old west. In little town with no law officer, the people or community carried out its own brand of justice. A man protected his home and family by any means necessary. The social contract theory gives them that right. Criminological Theory

The theory has basis in today’s criminal justice system in that there are segments of society that believe that the law doesn’t apply to them nor does it protect them. For example, the perception is that the amount of crime in the inner city is rampant. It is widely reported on the news every night. There are always stories on these neighborhoods if and only if it is sensational and /or involves a Caucasian citizen. This argument bears out when newspapers print banner headlines about Caucasian children being missing or kidnapped and the nation is on the...
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