If you are a Class 9 student studying political science, then you must have come across the term social contract theory. This theory explains the relationship between individuals and the government, and how it is based on an imaginary contract.

But have you ever wondered who proposed this theory? Let’s find out.

What is Social Contract Theory?

Before we dive into the origin of social contract theory, let’s understand what it means. According to this theory, individuals agree to give up some of their freedoms to the government in exchange for protection and security.

This agreement is known as a social contract. The government then has the responsibility to protect its citizens and ensure their well-being.

Who Proposed Social Contract Theory?

The idea of a social contract can be traced back to ancient Greece with philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle discussing it in their works. However, the modern concept of social contract theory is attributed to English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679).

Hobbes’ Life

Thomas Hobbes was born in Westport, England in 1588. He studied at Oxford University before working as a tutor for wealthy families. Hobbes later became interested in philosophy and wrote several influential works on politics and ethics.

‘Leviathan’

In 1651, Hobbes published his most famous work, ‘Leviathan.’ In this book, he proposed his version of social contract theory. According to Hobbes, humans are naturally selfish and violent creatures who need strong governance to prevent chaos and disorder.

He argued that individuals must give up some of their freedoms to a strong central authority in exchange for protection from others who might harm them. This authority could be a monarch or a democratic government but must have absolute power to maintain order.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Thomas Hobbes proposed the modern concept of social contract theory in his book ‘Leviathan.’ His ideas have had a significant impact on political philosophy and continue to be discussed and debated today. Understanding this theory is essential for any student of political science, as it forms the basis for our understanding of government and society.