The social contract theory was one that emerged in response to human enlightenment and civic awareness (Souryal, 2007). The theory was based on the belief that natural human existence without a binding contract among those who live together would create danger (Souryal, 2007). Without a contact people would not be secure in their property, rights or claims; fights would break out in which stronger would overcome the weaker and human freedom from dependence would be destroyed (Souryal, 2007) . The theory stated that human beings are individual and each deserve and independent identity.
This theory had two main philosopher’s whom studied social contract and expanded upon the existence of the theory. Thomas Hobbes was the first advocate and later came John Locke who built upon what Hobbes’s theory was and expanded it to greater things. Summary of Contract Theories Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) advocated that individuals would be best served by entering into a collective agreement that could ensure a person’s individual security and prosperity (Souryal, 2007). He advocated that it was of upmost importance for the need of a central governing authority (Souryal, 2007).
In this he meant that there was an inherent need that some type of binding contract was needed in order to settle conflicts and resolve disputes. Without this governing body, the safety of the people and preservation of their property would be in question (Souryal, 2007). When the commonwealth is ruled, peace would be maintained, justice would be preserved and collective happiness would be achieved (Souryal, 2007). John Locke can around from 1632-1704 and he built upon Hobbes’s social contract theory making it into a greater essay on freedom. (Souryal, 2007).
He merged the concepts of freedom and government into the larger doctrine of liberalism (Souryal, 2007). He advocated that an individual freedom was the supreme end of government (Souryal, 2007). Locke favored a more liberal form of government than an absolute monarchy. Locke was all about the individual and making sure that the individual was free to do and say as they please when it came to the governing bodies (Souryal, 2007). The role of the political authority should be limited as to only when necessary means call for it. The political role would only be used when it came to settling exceptional disputes that arose between individuals or groups (Souryal, 2007).
Locke had a keen eye to man’s moral judgment and people brought into the society had a sense of natural decency (Souryal, 2007). Locke did not believe in a monarchy and every man was pretty much to fend for themselves unless otherwise noted and this would be in rare instances and the governing body should not get involved in on basic things that could be solved between the parties having the dispute (Souryal, 2007) . Natural law was viewed and a state of perfect freedom, conducive to a market economy, an extensive commerce and an unlimited opportunity for the pursuit of happiness (Souryal, 2007).
However, Locke was often time criticized for his views on liberalism being too idealistic, if not our right naive (Souryal, 2007). In the end however, many of his principles were incorporated in the Declaration of Independence and as a result the United States became the free and prosperous nation it is currently (Souryal, 2007). Lastly there was the French philosopher Montesquieu (1689-1755) who introduced to the world the social idea of laws in in The Spirit of the Law (Souryal, 2007) s.
He too devoted his studies to that of natural law and agreed with Locke and thought natural law provided adequate standards of justice, happiness and morality (Souryal, 2007). He distinguished the government by referring to the nature of government which was the number of people that possessed supreme power (Souryal, 2007). By the principle of government which referred to the tendency of government to uphold moral and spiritual standards as opposed to crude control and intimidation (Souryal, 2007). Social Contract and the Bill of Rights The social contract strives for the fairest and most inclusive society.
Through a legitimate government via a social contract, no war exist between people since all political power is rested in an entity such as a government, that all people consent to. The right of liberty is than enhanced for all when this governing doctrine is in place and the rules are set for everyone to follow. The governing body of rules that best fits the social contract theory would be that of the bill of rights. The bill of rights is a doctrine that gives each individual person who is a citizen of the country the right to do certain things without there being apparent consequences.
The people under a social contract would work together towards a society that they or other would not be harmed from gross inequality. Everyone would be labeled as equal and with these rights drawn out in front of them there would be no reason as to why one person may feel inferior to another. This all falls back on the liberal approach of Locke and stating that everyone would be equal to each other thanks to the contract and what it brings to the table. The ninth amendment was one that especially was focused on when it came to social contract (McAffee, 1992).
In the 9th amendment it was designed as a saving clause, to ensure that the specification of particular rights would not raise and inference that the Bill of Rights exhausted the rights which people held as against the newly created government (McAffee, 1992). It has become the amendment that holds the key piece of evidence that the founders embraced a naturel law that included the idea that republican constitutions presuppose limitations on government resting on the inherent rights of people (McAffee, 1992).
It was said the 9th amendment defended the rights of the unwritten constitution which would eventually be the governing body of the country that everyone would follow and abide by (McAffee, 1992). Personal rights and ethical standards John Locke believed that the natural rights of the human were important and that the human would easily be able to control their own destiny and instances (Mwita, 2011). Locke denoted that the government is the outcome of the people’s consent and, this legitimacy of the government should remain the will of the people (Mwita, 2011).
With that being said the people control what goes on the government and not a monarchy handing out orders because people are capable of doing so on their own as that is the reason for natural law (Mwita, 2011) . The constitution must come from the people, the people are the authority and thus the constitution is the people themselves (Mwita, 2011). Everyone has to be in some sort of consensus as to what the laws should be and or what the government can and cannot do. The people are the ones who have the power and who make the rules and without the people the personal rights and ethical standards would not be the same.
The social contract is the government of the people, for the people and by the people. Thus, with modern governments adhering to free and fair election principles having their basis be based upon the social contract theory (Mwita, 2011). Conclusion The social contract theory overall is one that protects the rights of humans from a governing body. It makes for everyone who exists to follow their own given natural law and with this natural law everyone is able to function on their own accord.
The only time that the large governing body needs to come in is when the people who are having the dispute or disagreement cannot come up with a solution on their own and then the governing doctrine is there to serve as the backup for when things cannot seem to be solved with the existence of natural law. Natural law is powerful and everyone human has the proper judgment when it comes to make the right decisions when it comes to particular things. John Locke was a more liberal philosopher where Hobbes’s saw the need for an absolute monarchy.
However, in today’s society we have the governing body but, the country is leaning to a more liberal approach as people know what boundaries they can and cannot risk. The theory gives people the feeling of freedom and being able to express them only with little intervention from a governing body. The social contract theory is one many like as it lets humans be free.
References Fitzpatrick, M. (2013, September 1). The Advantages of a Social Contract Theory. Retrieved from http://www. ehow. com/info_8389066_advantages-social-contract-theory.
html McAffee, T. B. (1992). The Bill Of Rights, Social Contract Theory, and the Rights “Retained” by the People. Scholarly Works, 533. Retrieved from http://scholars. law. unlv. edu/facpub/533 Mwita, D. (2011, June). Social Contract Theory of John Locke (1932-1704) in the Contemporary World. Retrieved from http://www. academia. edu/1489291/Social_Contract_Theory_of_John_Locke_1932-1704_in_the_Contemporary_World Souryal, S. S. (2007). Ethics in Criminal Justice: In Search of the Truth (4th ed. ). Cincinnati, OH: Elsevier Inc.