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John Locke's Social Contract

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Salma Hegab

on 25 September 2013

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Transcript of John Locke's Social Contract

John Locke's Social Contract
Who's John Locke?
John Locke (1632 – 1704) widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism.
He was regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers.
His work had a great impact upon the development of epistemology and political philosophy.
The Social Contract
In political philosophy the social contract or political contract is a theory or model, originating during the Age of Enlightenment, that addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual
Social contract is a convention between men that aims to discard the state of nature. Under state of nature people live without government or written laws. People live under principles of justice that all normal people can see through reason, they include right to life, liberty and estates.
What does it state?
Locke states the existence of a "Natural Law" that transcends any man-made law.
All citizens have a right to "life, liberty and property."
A legitimate government can only obtain its legitimacy from the consent of those whom it governs.
Individuals must voluntarily surrender some of the freedom they would possess if they existed in "a state of nature."
Social contract theory expresses two fundamental ideas to which the human mind always clings the value of liberty; the idea that “will” and not “force” is the basis of government; and the value of justice or the idea that “right” and not “might” is the basis of all political society and of every system of political order.
The clear implication is that citizens have the right to abolish governments that do not benefit their citizens.
Influence
Locke's contract theories attacked the then current powers of state established churches and monarchs who practiced absolutism.
Locke would be a leading influence on future writers like Thomas Jefferson in the American Declaration of Independence.
By: Salma Hegab
Sources
http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=dmnyamaka
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008w3xm
Full transcript