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|Leads To||Government by Consent|
The concept of a moral, and sometimes political, agreement that is made when a person becomes a member of society.
Theorists hold that humans naturally reside in the “state of nature.” In this state men are free to do as they wish, without the constraints of the “greater good.” However, some will seek to improve themselves, by working the land to create property. To protect this property man must leave the state of nature and seek society and the laws it provides. This is when a social contract is required, to describe what is expected of a member of society.
The social contract put forth by French Enlightenment thinker Rousseau (1712-78) sought to dispel the disorder that comes from man’s rise from the state natural. It also addressed the key problem presented to man in a community: how can we live together and still keep our individual freedom? Rousseau suggested that in order for individuals to live in harmony they must give their will to the “general will.” By laying aside ego men can begin to live as a community.