The concept of Social Contract Theory was first introduced by Thomas Hobbes and later developed by John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and others. Among these philosophers, John Locke’s theory of social contract is one of the most influential. In this article, we will discuss the important features of John Locke’s theory of social contract.

What is Social Contract Theory?

Social Contract Theory is a political philosophy that suggests individuals willingly give up some of their individual freedoms in exchange for protection and security provided by the government. This theory suggests that the government has a responsibility to protect its citizens’ rights and act in their best interests.

John Locke’s Theory of Social Contract

John Locke’s theory of social contract focuses on the idea that individuals have natural rights to life, liberty, and property which should be protected by the government. According to Locke, individuals voluntarily enter into a social contract with the government to protect their rights and ensure safety.

The Role of Government

Locke believed that the role of government was to protect individual rights, including life, liberty, and property. He argued that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed rather than from divine right or force.

Individual Rights

Locke believed that individuals have natural rights that exist independently of any government or society. These natural rights include life, liberty, and property. According to Locke’s theory, these rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away by any government or individual.

Limitations on Government Power

Locke believed that governments should have limited power over their citizens. He argued that if a government becomes too powerful, it can become tyrannical and violate individual rights. To prevent this from happening, he suggested separating powers between different branches of government.

The Right to Revolt

Locke believed that individuals have the right to revolt against a government that fails to protect their rights. He argued that if a government becomes tyrannical and violates individual rights, citizens have the right to overthrow it and establish a new government.


In conclusion, John Locke’s theory of social contract highlights the importance of individual rights and limitations on government power. His ideas have influenced modern political thought and helped shape democratic societies around the world. Understanding his theory is crucial for anyone interested in political philosophy and the functioning of modern governments.