What Did John Locke Mean by Social Contract

John Locke was a prominent philosopher in the 17th century who is best known for his teachings on the concept of social contract. In this article, we will delve into what he meant by this influential idea.

According to Locke, social contract refers to an implicit agreement between individuals and society, whereby individuals agree to give up some of their natural rights to a governing authority in exchange for protection and security. In other words, people voluntarily form a social contract with one another, with the government acting as a mediator and protector of everybody`s rights and interests.

Locke believed that this concept was crucial for the proper functioning of a society. In his view, individuals naturally desire freedom and autonomy, but this must be balanced with a need for protection and security from external threats. Thus, people form a social contract to protect themselves against the dangers that exist in the world.

He also argued that the government has a responsibility to uphold the social contract and ensure that people`s rights are protected. If the government fails to do so, individuals have the right to dissolve the contract and form a new government that will better serve their needs.

Furthermore, Locke believed that the power of the government should be limited by the social contract. The government`s authority should be derived from the consent of the governed, and it should not be allowed to infringe on individual rights. This idea was revolutionary at the time, as it challenged the prevailing belief in absolute monarchies and divine right of kings.

In conclusion, John Locke`s social contract theory has had a profound impact on political philosophy and formed the basis for democratic government around the world. It emphasizes the importance of individual rights and freedoms, while recognizing the need for protection and security. By understanding the concept of social contract, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the relationship between individuals and the government that serves them.