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How The 'social Contract' Described By Hobbs And Locke Led To The Formation Of The United States And The Citizens Role In Maintaining The Social Contract Today.

1680 words - 7 pages

The Social Contract and the formation of the United StatesFor most of recorded history, with brief exceptions, i.e. ancient Greece and Rome, mankind has lived under the rule or control of a single man or a group of men. The majority of men therefore lived in a state of insecurity, fear and terror. Imagine living under the power of a man who had control over all aspects of your life. He could take your food, your possessions, your family, and if he wished your life. If you did something to offend him, or perhaps, if the King got out of the wrong side of the bed, your life could be in peril. We who live in the western world cannot fathom these things happening in our own time. We have freedoms that our predecessors could only dream of. How did we reach this state of freedom? How did we throw off the yoke of 'divine rule'? How did the rulers, who referred to themselves as 'bluebloods,' maintain this system of subjugation for most of man's history? Let us look back in history to see how we reached this present state in which we live in.In earlier times when the 'yoke' of oppression was on the neck of the people, the King had absolute power; his word was the law. With a few words or a gesture from him, heads could literally roll. He controlled just about every aspect of his subject's lives, from where you could live, to what you could eat. For example, wild animals that roamed the forest belong to the King. If a starving peasant was found with an animal that he had caught to feed his family without permission, it was grounds for imprisonment, perhaps even death. Those who hunted with permission had to give a portion of the meat they caught to the King for the right, the privilege to hunt.The King also ruled by the 'divide and conquer' method. Like chess pieces on a board the King would play his subjects off each other by manipulation. For example, let's say that Rebecca and Alan are friends. The King has been hearing some disconcerting things about Alan, so he befriends or coerces Rebecca into spying on Alan. Rebecca finds out that Alan has been cheating the King by saying that his harvest is smaller than it is, therefore he is not giving the King his full 'cut' or entitlement of the harvest. Rebecca could also make this up about Alan, it didn't matter. For her 'services' the King would turn over all of Alan's possessions to Rebecca. Alan would be hauled off to prison or the executioner. The King was happy, Rebecca was happy and Alan, oh well, too bad for him and his family. This was a brutally bloodthirsty structure with the King retaining enough people loyal to him, while keeping the majority of the people under control and oppressed.Two men were to bring forth idea's that would challenge system of oppression that man lived under. Thomas Hobbs (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704) were both "Social Contract Theorists". A social contract was when a group of men who had ties (economic and social) made a "contract" with each other to protect...

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