Who Proposed the Social Contract Theory Answer?


Vincent White

The Social Contract Theory is a cornerstone of political philosophy, exploring the relationship between individuals and the state. But who proposed this influential theory? Let’s dive into its history and discover the key figures behind its development.

Thomas Hobbes:
One of the earliest proponents of the Social Contract Theory was Thomas Hobbes. In his seminal work “Leviathan” published in 1651, Hobbes presented his ideas on the social contract.

He argued that in a state of nature, human life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” To escape this chaotic existence, individuals voluntarily surrender some of their rights to a sovereign authority. This authority would then protect their remaining rights and maintain order in society.

John Locke:
Another significant contributor to the Social Contract Theory was John Locke. In his work “Two Treatises of Government” published in 1689, Locke presented a different perspective.

He believed that individuals are born with natural rights such as life, liberty, and property. According to Locke, people enter into a social contract to form a government that would protect these inherent rights. If the government fails to fulfill its obligations or infringes upon these rights, individuals have the right to rebel and establish a new government.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau further expanded on the Social Contract Theory in his book “The Social Contract” published in 1762. Rousseau argued that society’s problems arise from inequalities caused by private property ownership.

He proposed that individuals should form a collective agreement known as the “general will,” where every citizen participates directly in decision-making processes. According to Rousseau, this would ensure that societal decisions reflect the common good rather than individual interests.


  • Thomas Hobbes proposed the Social Contract Theory in his book “Leviathan. “
  • John Locke presented a different perspective on the theory in his work “Two Treatises of Government.

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau expanded on the theory in his book “The Social Contract. “

The Social Contract Theory was shaped by the contributions of several influential thinkers, each offering unique insights into the relationship between individuals and the state. Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are among the key figures whose ideas have greatly influenced political philosophy. Understanding their perspectives allows us to appreciate the complexities of social contracts and their implications for society.

Additional Resources:

For further exploration of this topic, consider reading the following works:

  • Hobbes, Thomas. “Leviathan. “
  • Locke, John. “Two Treatises of Government.

  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. “The Social Contract. “

Remember to critically analyze and engage with these texts to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Social Contract Theory and its origins.