Go through these RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 8 The Social Contract Theory and Evolutionary Theory contain important concepts so that students can score better marks in the exam.
Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 8 The Social Contract Theory and Evolutionary Theory
The Social Contract Theory:
→ The social contract theory is regarded as the most important amongst all related principles of the origin of the state.
→ According to this theory, the origin of state is not by God, instead, it is human-made. It the result of social contract by the people.
→ First of all, sophist thinkers of Greece propagated the theory of social contract.
→ First of all, Richard Hooker, a political thinker, explained the principle of social contract in a scientific way.
→ The scientific and formal expansion of the social contract theory was done by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Social Contract Theory of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
- Thomas Hobbes, a phiklosopher from England, interpreted this theory is his book ‘Leviathan’ published in AD 1651.
- Through this principle, Hobbes supported autocratic monarchy.
Details of human agreement:
- Human nature: According to Hobbes, man is basically an unsocial creature. He is selfish, arrogant and litigious. He indulges in strife with other people in order to fulfil his own interests.
- Natural condition: Hobbes calls the state or condition prior to the establishment of state and society, as natural condition. In this situation, man was engrossed in war and in other immoral activities for his vested interests, leading his life in a poor, secluded, impulsive and brutal manner.
- Reason of contract: The fear of untimely death and insecurity of life and property in natural condition inspired the people to end the natural condition and form an organised political society.
- Form of contract: After being terrified by the constant strife in natural condition, the people opted for a contract to form a political society in which every person, for his rights and perfection of life, offered the responsibility to a person or a group of persons, Leviathan. As a result of such a contract, there became a formation of political society headed by a person having supreme, unlimited and autocratic powers sovereign Leviathan.
Criticism of Hobbes’ Theory:
The following is the criticism of Hobbes’ theory:
- Unilateral explanation of human nature
- Human is not lonely
- Imaginary portrayal of natural condition
- Imagination of contract impossible
- Supporter of autocracy and anti-democracy
- No distinction between state and government
- State is not an artificial institution.
Contribution of Hobbes and Importance: First of all, Hobbes, in his political study, included scientific philosophy, logic and wisdom. He was the first thinker to present the modern concept of state’s sovereignty.
Contract theory of John Locke (AD 1632-1704)
The thoughts of John Locke, a resident of England, are found in his book ‘Two Treatises on Government’ published in AD 1690. He presented the idea of restricted monarchy as the best system of administration.
Details of human contract
- Human nature: According to Locke, man is social and rational creature. He fundamentally is naive, peaceful, moral and obedient.
- Natural State (condition): In natural state, a human lived his life according to natural rules and using by natural rights too. The life of this state was peaceful, moral, cooperative and happy.
- Reasons of contract: Because of lack of institutions of administration, execution and justice, people began to manipulate laws and it turned the natural state discomfiting.
- Form of contract: According to Locke, two contracts were inked. In the first contract, a society was established ending the natural state. The second contract was between the king and the subjects whereby the subjects, authorised the king to frame laws and implement them.
Criticism of Theory of Locke:
The following are the points of criticism of Locke’s theory:
- Unilateral explanation of human nature
- Wrong portrayal of natural state
- Concept of natural rights wrong
- Division of monarchy wrong
- Concept of revolution wrong
- No importance of lawful monarchy
- Public consensus not the only basis of form ation of the state.
Contribution and Importance of the Principle of Locke: Locke’ s thoughts gave encouragement to liberal thought. By the extension of the principle of natural rights, he prepared a base of fundamental rights of present time.
Contract Theory of Jean Jacques Rousseau (AD 1712-1778)
Rousseau, a French philosopher, propagated the theory of social contract in his book ‘The Social Contract’ published in AD 1762.
Details of human contract:
- Human nature: According to Rousseau, man is a naive creature, he is innocent and sinless.
- Natural state: Rousseau classified the natural state into two stages. In the first stage, human was happy, content and self-reliant. Rousseau branded this state of human as ‘noble savage’.
In the second stage, on account of emergence of property, man became selfish, arrogant, violent and thirsty for wealth. As a result, his life became competitive and anarchic.
- Form of contract: The emergence of private property damaged the natural freedom of a human. In order to get back this lost freedom, humans signed contracts mutually, because of which, formation of the state took place. This contract paved the way for the emergence of general desire. The people submitted all their rights to this general desire.
Criticism of Theory of Rousseau:
The criticism of Rousseau’s social contract theory is as follows:
- No historical evidence of portrayal of natural state
- Mutually contradictory contract
- General desire proponent of Imperialism
- Dual status of an individual.
Contribution and Importance of Rousseau’s Theory: Because of influence of democratic thoughts and public consensus, under Rousseau’s theory, French revolution took place and there developed a principle of human liberty and fraternity.
Comparative Evaluation of Social Contract Theory (Theories)
Comparison of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau:
The bases of comparison of social contract theories propagated by the three scholars is as follows
- Human nature
- Natural state
- Reason of contract
- Form of contract.
Criticism of social contract theory:
- After sustaining its popularity for two centuries, this principle started facing opposition in 19th century. This theory was criticized on historical, philosophical and constitutional bases.
Importance of Social Contract Theory:
- This theory ruptured the divine theory of origin of state and made it clear that the basis of the origin of state was people’s consent. Besides, this principle provided an important basis to the theory of sovereignty.
‘General Will’ theory of Rousseau
- Rousseau, through the General Will theory, presented the concept of freedom, interest of governance, duty, individuality and competence, etc
- Rousseau, while consolidating general will, has described two types of will, (i) Practical will, (ii) Ideal will.
- (i) Practical will is dependent on selfishness of an individual, (ii) Ideal will depends on the spirit of charity of an individual.
- According to Rousseau, by way of exchange of views, we get the superior form of ‘wills’ (desires). It is general will.
- Characteristics of Rousseau’s general will: (i) Integrity, (ii) Stablity. (iii) Inalienability, (iv) Indivisibility, (v) Public welfare, (vi) Based on rationality, (vii) Supreme and autocratic.
The following are the criticisms of General will:
- Ambiguous and difficult
- Difference between practical will, and ideal will is imaginary
- Imaginary theory
- Direct democracy not appropriate
- Explanation of general interest difficult
- Nourisher of autocracy of the state
- Opposer of individual freedom.
Importance of General Will: Rousseau’s thought of ‘General Will’ is very important for democracy. Besides inspiring nationalism, it provides importance to both the individual and the society.
Evolutionary Theory of Origin of the State:
- This principle (theory) of origin of the state is based on psychological, historical and sociological evidences.
- According to this theory, the state is neither an artificial institution, nor is it of divine origin. It is a gradual development of social life.
- According to this principle, many attributes, such as basic social nature, blood relation, religion, force, economic necessities, political awareness, etc. played very important roles in the development of the state.
- The evolutionary theory of the origin of the state carries universal recognition in present time.
The Social Contract Theory and Evolutionary Theory Notes Important Terms
→ Autocratic Monarchy: If the absolute power of governance of a state is in the hands of one individual (the king), and he takes the decisions as per his whims and fancies, then the administration of such a king is called autocratic monarchy. In this type of system of governance, there is dominance of fear and crime.
→ Leviathan: Famous treatise written by Thomas Hobbes. In this book, Thomas Hobbes, a resident of England, supports the autocratic monarch. In the social contract theory of the origin of state, it is Leviathan who is Hobbes’ imaginary autocratic king.
→ Sovereignty: It is such a characteristic of the state which makes it different in its entity from other communities. A state can retain its existence till the time it is deprived of its sovereignty. If the state loses its sovereignty on account of internal rebellion or foreign attack, then the existence of the state gets extinct. According to Willoughby, “Sovereignty is the supreme will of the king”.
→ Laws: The directive rules made by the state for its people are called laws.
→ Rights: Rights are mandatory ‘conditions’ of social life. Without these, no one can develop his best personality. Demands of an individual, duly accepted by the society are called rights.
→ Sovereign: In social contract theory of the origin of the state, King is called sovereign. The orders of the king are laws.
→ Judge: He delivers justice as per laws. He is unbiased.
→ Noble Savage: According to social contract theory of Rousseau, a person living in natural state is called ‘noble savage’.
→ Society: A society hints at such a community of humans which are united for the sake of a common goal. There are mutual interactions of persons in it.
→ Revolution: A sudden action, which is unlawful, which appears before the government or ruler as rebellion for a massive change.
→ Bloodless or Glorious Revolution: Peaceful change of governance in England in AD 1688 is called the bloodless or Glorious Revolution. By this revolution, autocratic king James II was ousted and William and Mary were coronated on the throne with limited rights. Sovereignty of the parliament was put over the king.
→ Natural State: According to the social contract theory of the origin of the state, the state prior or the establishment of state and society is called natural state.
→ Power of governance: As per constitutional provisions, the power being used upon an individual is called the power of governance.
→ Liberal thought: This is an important and progressive line of thought of modern period. This is not merely a thought, but also a lifestyle and a movement, which while negating the orthodox thought of medieval period, adopts a new ideology.
→ Imperialism: When any country transgresses its boundary and starts dominating the economic and political life of the people of other countries, this situation is called imperialism.
→ Dictatorship: In this system of administration, all power gets centralized with a person or a group of persons, and the ruler or despot does not stand ‘answerable’. The despot has all military powers. There is no rule of law in dictatorship. The order of the dictator is law. There is no fixed tenure of the regime. Rousseau’s “General Will” indicates despotic rule tenure.
→ Nationalism: To appreciate the emotions of unity by the people who are shareholders of one language, one history and shared culture.
→ General will: This is the summation of all pervading ideal desires within the society, general and sovereign. Therefore, it is non-transferable inalienable, omnipresent and binding supreme authority. The most important element of Rousseau’s philosophy is ‘General Will’ theory.
→ Practical will: It is will of a person based on selfishness. It is a changeable, ignitable and wish-dominated will.
→ Ideal will: This is based on spirit of charity of an individual. It is a will of rationality and establishes a coordination between an individual and a society. Ideal will is socially cohesive, knowledgeable, selfless, pervading, national and moral.
→ Public welfare: This word is generally used for those states which do not derive satisfaction merely by providing justice, safety and internal system, but it goes beyond and promotes development of all dimensions aimed at making public life better.
→ Force/Power: The capacity of controlling other people or a person’s mind and activity by one person is called power. That is, to control others and make them act as per the dictates of the dominating will. Besides, the capacity of sustaining the mutual relations between a state and a group of people is also called power.
→ Political Awareness: Political awareness means awareness for obtaining the objectives behind the origin of the state. In present time, political awareness is the cause of development of the state. Because of political awareness only, there have neem developments in law and judicial system.
→ Richard Hooker: First scholar to explain in scientific way the social contract theory of origin of the state.
→ Thomas Hobbes: A political thinker from England. His main book is ‘Leviathan’. His other books are ‘Thucydides’ and ‘Elements of law’. He, while propagating the social contract theory of the origin of the state, supported autocratic monarchy was through it. Hobbes believes the weak monarchy responsible for the state of anarchy in England in his time.
→ John Locke: England’s major political thinker, his main creation is ‘Two Treatises on Civil Government”. He regarded limited monarchy as the best system of administration. In his life-time, there happened the bloodless or Glorious revolution in England in AD 1688.
→ Montesquieu: A free thinker and writer of France. His main book is ‘The Spirit of the Laws.’ He propagated the principle of ‘power separation’.
→ Jean Jacques Rousseau: French philosopher. He placed the principle of a social contract between the people and their ruler. He wrote a very famous creation named ‘Social Contract’. He is thought to be the Father of the French Revolution, paving the way for modern democratic system.
→ Maclver: A political thinker. According to him, blood relation gives birth to a society and finally a state.
→ Dr. Garner: A famous political thinker. He said that a state is neither a creation of God, nor a result of physical power, nor it was developed by any contract and nor it is the developed form of family. It is a historical institution which arose by constant development.
→ Henriman: A political thinker. He regarded blood relation as the main element to bind the humans in unions.
→ Gettel: A famous political thinker. He thought economic activities to be the major element in the formation of the state. He stressed that blood-relation and religion are two faces of the same coin. Religion developed and infused a spirit of respect, obedience and morality in place of the diabolical mindset in the human of primitive era.
→ Burgess: A political thinker. He elucidated that a state is result of continuous development of human society whose beginning was in an incomplete and distorted form.