Social Contract

By Devlyn C. Renee L.


Social Contracts was an idea made by Jean Jacques Rousseau, a philosopher during the early 1700's. The book he wrote that was originally in French was a list of rule and human rights everyone should have and follow; such as making treaty's and deals. This was used to create a political community and allowed individuals to determine their freedom and life.



People normally agreed to social contracts because of an intense need for protection. Even during the enlightenment era, crimes, robbery, and other various thefts were still common. Therefore, people would seek out forms of protection, often offered to them through such agreements.


A social contract is, as previously stated, an agreement of sorts between a(n) individual(s) and another individual with preferably higher power. The agreement would usually center around the weaker and less fortunate individual giving up one of his/her rights or freedoms or even money in exchange for protection or safe land.

More often than not, it would focus on a larger group of people than just two, and often led to the creation of a form of government. This was entirely intended to better a society and it's inhabitants.


This is significant because this is still used today by making deals and treaty's; for example, making treaty's with other countries saying "we won't attack if you don't attack". It also helped outline our rules for human rights and matches our rights where all "men were equal" although they did mean all "men" and that was upgraded about a century and a half later to all humans are equal.
John Locke and the Social Contract Theory


The social contract theory itself was a means to describe the creation of early government and was commonly referred to and explained by John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, or Jean-Jacques Rousseau. They use this theory to understand better why governments were initially formed, and to also understand the real reasons behind having one (ie, the duties of the government to the people and the duties of the people to the government.)