Social Contract Today – Political Thought

Thomas Hobbes, the father of modern philosophy, is a firm proponent of a separation of church and state. He is also very direct in his work, The Leviathan, where he depicts man as selfish and argues that it is this selfishness that often leads to war. For peace to be established, man must agree to a social contract with a monarch.

 

John Locke’s most famous work, Two Treatises of Government, influenced many of America’s Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and his writing of the Declaration of Independence. Most notably, Locke argues that man is born with the right to life, liberty, and property – all of which are natural rights. He also contends that if government violates the social contract then the people have the right to abolish the government.

 

Jena-Jacques Rousseau believed man was inherently good, but society is not. It’s this society that causes man to form alliances to protect their interests against others. Once alliances are formed societies are then naturally formed, thus creating a social contract between the citizens of the new society (alliance).

 

Additional Materials

 

Locke, Darwin, and America’s Future

Social Quality in Rousseau

 

ASSIGNMENT:

 

Select one of these three philosophers (Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes) and write a 2 page paper in which you analyze the significant ways in which their ideas differ from those at work in modern democracies. What could we gain from following their ideas more closely, and what might be dangerous if we did so?

This paper should be 3 pages of complete content (cover page and reference page are separate) and have in-text citations. The paper will be in APA style (both in formatting the paper and reference page). One scholarly article as a minimum should be included in the paper.

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