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Social Contract According to Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau

Social contract theory is a philosophical account of the origins of the state and the relationship between the individual and the state. It refers to an agreement between individuals, in which they abandon a part of their freedom (or natural rights) in exchange for laws guaranteeing an organized society. The concept of a social contract appears early in the writings of Plato; nevertheless, the major theorists of this concept are credited to Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This essay will assess the meaning of the social contract through an analysis of their theories.

Hobbes describes his conception of the social contract in his book Leviathan whereby he begins describing an account of men in the state of nature. In this state, men strive for power, are relatively equal and fight for scarce resources (Wolff 2006). Therefore, from theses assumption of equality, scarcity and uncertainty, Hobbes theorized the creation of a state, which could ensure peace and security by commanding people (M.Rosen and J.Wolff 1999). That is why the social contract should be a “contract of submission”, which means that the only way to mai