Value of the Contract Theory

Although the contract theory is mainly false and misleading, it contains some elements of truth. First of all, it emphasizes the fact that the State is a human institution and not a divine creation. More than this, it lays stress on one fundamental political truth that the State rests on the consent of the governed. It proclaims that will, not force or divine sanction, is the basis of the State. By emphasizing the elements of consent and will, it has ushered in the era of modem democracy.

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It inspired men to think that they could choose the government by their own free choice and will. This is the essence of political obligation of a citizen of the modem State. Viewed in this light, “the social contract theory may not be historically tenable but philosophically it is the only theory possible.” Of all the philosophies of the State, it expresses the proper interpretation of the relations between the individual and the State as based on consent and will.

This theory combated the claims of irresponsible rulers and privileged classes. It completely refuted the theory of the Divine Right of kings. Its great value lies in its refutation of absolutism and its support for democracy. The origin of modem democracy is to be traced from the writings of the social contract thinkers.

 

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