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The Social Contract

By April-Wilburn Apr 27, 2014 691 Words
April Carithers Wilburn
Western Civilization II
Allison Elledge
2/28/14

What is the Social Contract?
How was one to be able to be governed and still remain free men? The Social Contract was an agreement that was part moral and part political obligation that depended on the people to form society. The entire contract explains the aspects to answer this question (Rousseau, Jean Jacques. "The Social Contract."). The contract states that there is a way for a person to be part of a society, yet still be able to answer to themselves alone. Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke all have different views on this contract. Jean Jacques Rousseau believed that men would form a progressive state from wild men to conform to society, but states that it would not be a good thing as it would allow for corruption and negative feelings. “However we have no moral liberty in the state of nature, because we have not yet developed a moral sense. This moral sense can only be born in society, and we need to establish a society in which, not only do we preserve the liberty of the state of nature, but also provide the conditions for us to achieve moral freedom” (Bluhm, William T. "Freedom in "The Social Contract": Rousseau's "Legitimate Chains"). Thomas Hobbes believed that the contract, bringing in a common leader to keep everyone in line would be a good, if not then war would be inevitable. “Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, is of every man, against every man” (Mackinnon, Barbara. Ethics: Theory and Contemporary). John Locke followed the Natural Law aspect of this theory. Natural law or the Law of Nature says that a person will do good, as it is the moral answer. “To understand political power aright and to derive it from its original, we must consider what estate all men are naturally in, and that is a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of Nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man” (Mackinnon, p.118). The social contract goes into detail what should and could be done to establish a working government or leader to work for all people, and still allow men and women to think and act on their own. The different views of Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke show that not all people think alike.

Rousseau, Jean Jacques. "The Social Contract." constitution.org. 2012. Accessed February 27, 2014.http://www.constitution.org/jjr/socon_01.htm.
This is the actual contract that Jean Jacques Rousseau had done himself. This article will help me to get the true ideas that Rousseau had intended, and will assist me further in this assignment.

Bluhm, William T. "Freedom in "The Social Contract": Rousseau's "Legitimate Chains"." www.jstor.org. Accessed Feb. 26, 2014. http://www.jstor.orf/stable/3234555.
William Bluhm states that The Social Contract has three stages of progression, and also discusses the different view of Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. These stages are state of nature, contract, and civil society. I feel this article will give me a start in what each feel are the pros and cons to the contract.

Mackinnon, Barbara. Ethics: Theory and Contemporary. Seventh ed. Boston: Waddsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012. 98-102. Print.
Mackinnon views the thoughts and writings of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, and how Hobbes believes there can be no justice without a common power and law. This will help me to see the differences in the actual contract and the reasons for law and power to be directed to one specific direction

Mackinnon, Barbara. Ethics: Theory and Contemporary. Seventh ed. Boston: Waddsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012. P.118. Print.
Mackinnon discusses John Locke’s belief in natural law. John Locke believes that everyone should do as they please, without consequences to another man. This will help me in finding reasoning in how John Locke’s believes are different and why.

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