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The Origins of the State and Social Contract Theory.

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Presentation on theme: "The Origins of the State and Social Contract Theory."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Origins of the State and Social Contract Theory

2 What is the State? A political community that –occupies a definite territory, and –Has an organized system of government with the power to make and enforce laws Today: State = Country = Nation

3 Where did the State come from? Evolution Theory - Right to rule evolved from traditional family roles Force Theory - Right to rule is obtained through force and physical domination Divine Right Theory - The right to rule comes from God Social Contract Theory - The right to rule come from the consent of the People

4 The Enlightenment The Enlightenment - an intellectual movement that started in France and spread around Europe and to the Americas; –Began as a reaction to absolute monarchy; –Philosophers argued for social equality and individual liberty. –People began to believe they had rights and were important as individual human beings The Enlightenment gives birth to the ideology of “Classical Liberalism”

5 Thomas Hobbes ( ) Political philosopher who first developed the idea of the social contract (Leviathan): –In a “state of nature,” all individuals are equal –Life is unbearable, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” –People enter into a social contract whereby they grant absolute authority to a sovereign ruler in order to obtain security; –No right to rebel

6 John Locke ( ) Expanded on social contract theory; –Second Treatise on Government According to John Locke: –Life is very difficult in a state of nature; –All people are born with certain natural rights, but those rights are not protected in a state of nature. –People need to create government in order to protect these natural rights.

7 THINK ABOUT IT!! What is a contract? –A contract is a promise made between two or more parties to exchange something of value. –Quid Pro Quo: “Something for Something” What is the social contract? –People consent to be ruled by the government. –The Government promises to protect the rights of the people (life, liberty and property). –The people have the right to rebel if the government breaks the social contract.

8 America’s Social Contract The Declaration of Independence - Britain has broken the social contract with the colonists. The Constitution - Our new social contract with the government.


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