The term "social contract" refers to the idea that the state exists only to serve the will of the people, who are the source of all political power enjoyed by the state. The combined set of political attitudes held by individuals within the same culture. Nice work! The term "social contract" can be found as far back as the writings of the 4th-5th century BCE Greek philosopher Plato. Our AP study guides, practice tests, and notes are the best on the web because they're contributed by students and teachers like yourself. That's easy — it's the best way to study for AP classes and AP exams! Instead, those who were the strongest could take control and use their power over others at any time. Definition and Main Theorists, Cherokee Nation v. Georgia: The Case and Its Impact, Overview of United States Government and Politics, Vice President of the United States: Duties and Details, What Is Federalism? Significant historical or cultural events that can permanently affect the political attitudes of the people who lived through them. The opinions people hold about the role of government and the specific programs and policies that their government should implement. Locke further argued that if a government no longer protects each individual's right, then revolution is not just a right but an obligation. Following from this principle, a government established by the free choice of its people is required to serve the people, who in the end have sovereignty, or supreme power, to keep or overthrow that government. Indictment – A formal written statement from a grand jury charging an individual with an offense; also called a true bill. Eminent domain – Power of a government to take private property for public use; the U.S. Constitution gives national and state governments this power and requires them to provide just compensation for property so taken.
The belief that political officials and institutions should have significant constraints on their power. COVID-19 Updates Locke argued that people are thus not royal subjects, but in order to secure their property rights, people willingly give over their right to a central authority to judge whether a person is going against the laws of nature and needed to be punished. The Indian and Native American Employment Rights Program (INAERP) advances awareness of employment rights and job opportunities for American Indians and Alaska Natives who work for or seek employment with companies doing business with the federal government. The most influential social-contract theorists were the 17th–18th century philosophers Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The essence of this idea is that the will of the people as a whole gives power and direction to the state. When Locke referred to the "state of nature," he meant that people have a natural state of independence, and they should be free "to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature."