AP Government- Social Contract Theory

Flashcard maker : Chad Lipe
Social Contract Theory
The authority to rule is granted to the government by the people who make a contract with the government. Each side has obligations which must be met for the contract to be valid.
Thomas Hobbes
Man makes a contract which is unbreakable in order for physical protection.
Limited Government
Philosophy that government does not have absolute authority. Hobbes did not believe that there should be any limits on government, but he did not think that a sovereign could do anything that would injure his or her subjects.
State of Nature
Philosophy regarding how humans would act in their most basic state without a civil government. Hobbes believed the state of nature in which man lived before the formation of society was founded on a savage selfishness, which drove man to obtain pleasure without concern for justice or mercy toward other men.
State of war
Hobbes believed that in the state of nature , people were always at war with one another, a war of all against all. Each individual was endowed with the right to do anything they pleased and people were in constant fear for their lives.
3 Philosophies of Thomas Hobbes
Limited Government, State of nature, State of war
John Locke
Man is guaranteed \”natural rights\” which are granted by God; these rights are life, liberty and property; if the government fails to protect those rights, then the contract is void and a new contract can be made with a different government.
Unalienable rights/ Natural Rights
Rights that cannot be taken away from anyone, for example freedom of speech.
Equal Rights
The belief that all persons, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, age, etc., have the same rights as everyone else.
Consent of the governed
The political theory that governments gain their authority from their people. A government is not legitimate if the people do not give their consent.
3 Beliefs of John Lock
Natural Rights, Equal rights, consent of the governed
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Wrote \”The Social Contract\”; further defined the ideas of the social contract between the individual and government; he also took it to a new dimension and wrote about the contracts that people in society make with one another as part of civil society.
Social Contract
Idea that people join groups, and these groups make a presence know as a society. A social contract is the compact that the people agree form rules and conditions for membership in their society.
The belief that all persons are entitled to equal rights and treatment before the law.
Civil society
Occurs after people leave the state of nature. Signs of this transfer are: people act on rules of justice rather than on instinct, physical impulse is replaced by the voice of duty, and people consult reason rather than inclinations. By entering civil society people gain civil liberty and the legal right of property in what he possess. They also gain moral freedom, making people masters of themselves.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s 3 ideals
Social Contract, Equality, Civil society

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