Social Contract Theory

Social contract theory is an unwritten and implicit agreement between people in a group. It can be between members of a group or between citizens and leaders. It is a political and philosophical theory that states that in order to receive the benefits of being in a society we must give up some natural behaviors, desires, and freedoms. The first modern defense of this theory was proposed by philosopher Thomas Hobbes and elaborated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century.

Humans receive security and safety from the laws and government of their society but in order to participate they must give up their "state of nature" desires. By being in a society or group humans have behavioral constraints placed on them such as social norms, rights, and responsibilities. Humans gain rights to be safe and free and in return must respect the rights and freedoms of others.

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