Societal Significance and the Sovereignty
According to Thomas Jefferson, an influential leader, “No government can continue good but under the control of the people.” Jefferson’s quote suggests that the social contract and state are only run sufficiently under the authority of the people. There is a common assumption that a definite agreement among the population of a society, is dictated by the individuals themselves. In the past, various theorists as well as powerful leaders have made conscience endeavors to demystify whether the social contract is imposed by the sovereign or society. This essay makes an argument that the social compact is dictated by individuals because individuals have the power to alter the governments they exist within. The state is what the people define it as. It is bound by territory, and people, states comprise of governments. The Social Contract is developed by Jean Jacques Rousseau about what is believed to be the greatest method to establish a political community.
This essay will argue how the society dictates the state, as it will be organized into six sections. The first part of the essay provides the opposing argument that the social compact is dictated by the state. In the next section, I will demonstrate why the opposing points are weak and provide my main arguments. The arguments will comprise of how individuals in a society create laws and we collectively can change and implement new laws. The four ways individuals can
In terms of the American political system, the most significant of the theories of the origin of the state is that of the ‘Social Contract”. Philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, James Harrington, and John Locke in england and Jean Jacques Rousseau in France developed this theory in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Most importantly, such a contract created what Rousseau called the “general will,” a people’s common interests, which Rousseau charged governments and their people with the responsibilities to uphold and obey respectively (Friend). Bolívar’s criticisms regarding federalism echoed such ideas: “by authorizing self-government,” the federal system “disrupt[ed] social contracts and reduce[d] nations to anarchy” because each province developed and chased its own interests at the expense of a “general will” (6). A “single authority,” however, would be able to enforce—or even unite—the people under such a “general will” (8).
In Chapter three of his book, “A Nation Among Nations,” Thomas Bender investigates the Civil War and draws parallels with American history and modern nation making around the world. Chapter three is focused on the Civil War and what led to political thinkers believing in a strong unified nation as the best protection of individual liberties. Documents that help us understand what led to ideas that would promote the citizens individual liberties are the United States Constitution , The Bill of Rights and Simon Bolivar’s A Constitution for Venezuela . To better understand what the nation was founded on we should first acknowledge the dictionary definition of individual liberty: “the liberty of an individual to exercise freely those rights generally accepted as being outside of governmental control.” We should also make it clear that the government’s duty is to provide individuals with the opportunity to utilize their liberty with protection from the government.
The Declaration of Independence was far from the only product of Enlightenment philosophers. In addition, the very structure of the United States government was heavily influenced by Jean Jacques Rousseau’s idea of the social contract. In summary, the government has a contract with its people, also known as the general will of the people, in which all voters have a voice in regards to what they think should stay, improve, or be done away with entirely. In his book, The Social Contract, Rousseau also popularized the concept of state governments having control over their affairs from the federal government.
Ones’ political and social agreement derives from society. Human nature leads to a state of nature, pre-government, which then the social contract rectifies, creating the purpose of government. Before understanding how the
In 1776 the United States declared its independence from the tyrannical British Empire and has been growing as a nation ever since then. The first constitution that the United States developed as a united country was the Articles of Confederation, which failed horribly. But learning from the mistakes made in the Articles of Confederation the brilliant minds of early America drafted the Constitution, a document that still governs the states to this day with only being amended 27 times. In order to be this successful it was written very broadly with a lot of room for interpretation because every problem couldn’t be addressed. One problem that the Founding
In today’s world, we are using more and more technology in our lives that was thought to be impossible only 50 odd years ago. However, what has been the most influential ideas that helped formed our government we know today have been written on paper. One of the ideas from some of these documents is Popular Sovereignty. Popular Sovereignty means people power, something we see a lot of in our government. Popular Sovereignty is the most significant influence on the development of our government because it is seen in many documents that also influenced the development of our government, like the Magna Carta, The Mayflower Compact, and the writings of John Locke.
Government is an administration defined by the Constitution, but is also a constantly adjusting foundation by the efforts of its citizens. By Litherland (2014), government is defined as policies set in order to lead a body of people (p. 395). Over the span of time, the idea of government has been stretched, changed, and applied to various communities throughout both the nation and the world. Whether it was back in the eighteenth century, current, or in the very near future—government has existed and will continue to exist for its people and the nation it has built its foundation upon. With the use of multiple authors, those of: “Difference between Direct and Representative Democracy” (n.d.), “Federalism - Dividing Power between States and the
In the history of modern philosophy, a lot of philosophers have raised and discussed the question of when and how a society first came into place. Two of the most important theories related to that were “The Social Contract Theory” discussed by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, and “The Original Contract” by David Hume. In this paper, I will present Hume’s arguments against the social contract theory, how his views might apply to Locke’s, then Locke’s response to Hume’s argument and finally present my argument of why I agree with Hume.
Social contract denotes that a government or sovereign body exists only to serve the will of the people because the people are the source of political power that is enjoyed by the entity. The people can choose to give or withdraw the power. Not all philosophers agree that the social contract creates rights and obligations; on the contrary, some believe that the social contract imposes restrictions that restrict a person’s natural rights. Individuals who live within the society gain protection by the government from others who may pursue to cause them injury, in exchange, the citizens, must relinquish individual liberties like the capability to commit wrongdoings without being reprimanded, and they should contribute to making society
In the society illustrated by John Locke, the human nature is characterized as free and independent; however, the problem with society is that it has too many small inconveniences, which could be as trivial as a tree blocking the sidewalk. To solve these problems, a legitimate government, characterized by explicit consent, checks on institutions and the right to revolt by the people, is needed. The utmost legitimate government, in comparison to Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is based on John Locke’s social contract in Second Treatise of Government because each aspect of a legitimate government protects the citizen’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Through each aspect, the people can actively participate in government to prevent the sovereign from taking advantage of their powers to further their own goals.
Since the beginning of the modern age, governments and states have existed in order to maintain moral law. Essentially these institutions are for the greater good of humanity. However, little thought is ever given to how humans lived without governments. Each and every person in the modern age is born into a state, and becomes a part of that state regardless of their will. The concept that humans are born into a state is derived from the social contract. The social contract is a voluntary agreement that allows for the mutual benefit between individuals and governments with regards to the protection and regulation of affairs between members in society. Essentially the idea is that citizens will give up some of their freedoms to the government in return for protection of their remaining rights. Throughout history, there have been a number of philosophers that have discussed the social contract and each philosopher has had there own social contract theories. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes was the foundation for social contract theory in Western political philosophy. While The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau was written a century later and inspired political reforms in Europe. Both Hobbes and Rousseau in their theories appeal to the social contract as being needed as a means to control man in society. However, their theories differ significantly on the basis of the state of nature, the phase after man has left his natural state and
A state is sovereign when its magistrate owes allegiance to no superior power, and he or she is supreme within the legal order of the state. It may be assumed that in every human society where there is a system of law there is also to be found, latent beneath the variety of political forms, in a democracy as much as in a absolute monarchy, a simple relationship between subjects rendering habitual obedience, and a sovereign who renders obedience to none. This vertical structure, of sovereign and subjects, according to this theory, is analogous to the backbone of a man. The structure constitutes an essential part of any human society which possesses a system of law, as the backbone
In The Social Contract (Book I, Chapter VII), Rousseau proposes his own model of the sovereign in a social contract. This means that he considers the way that people should be governed and how this affects their rights in relation to the community. Section one of this essay will explain his argument. Section two will give my perspective on the limitations of his argument. I will argue in this essay that Rousseau’s conception of the sovereign does not ensure that individual rights are protected because he unjustifiably assumes that the imposition of the will of the community onto society will always lead to the interests of particular citizens being met.