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The SOCIAL CONTRACT in mention, Uni, is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept corresponding duties to protect themselves and one another from violence and other kinds of harm. Social contract theory played an important historical role in the emergence of the idea that political authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The starting point for most social contract theories is a heuristic examination of the human condition absent from any political order, usually termed the “state of nature”. In this condition, individuals' actions are bound only by their personal power and conscience. From this shared starting point, social contract theorists seek to demonstrate, in different ways, why a rational individual would voluntarily give up his or her natural freedom to obtain the benefits of political order. Thomas Hobbes (1651), John Locke (1689), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762) are the most famous social contract thinkers. Each drew quite different conclusions about the nature of political authority. Hobbes advocated absolute monarchy, Locke advocated natural rights, and Rousseau advocated collective sovereignty in the name of "the general will". The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence, and social contract notions have recently been invoked, in a quite different sense, by thinkers such as John Rawls. Although developed for understanding human societies, sociobiologists have found the notion illuminating for understanding societies of other social species and even interspecies symbiotic relationships. *********************** In re: NATURAL RIGHTS. Thomas Locke again, Uni. Locke's political philosophy influenced the American Revolution the most. To exemplify this, recall Thomas Jefferson's famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence: "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". This phrase actually appeared in the writings of Locke in his Two Treatises on Government where he says "no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions." Jefferson changed the last condition from "possessions" (or "estate") because he feared people would claim they have the right to the property of others, so he claimed people have the right to pursue that which makes them happy. Locke also believed in the following political and philosophical principles: government is required to protect people's natural rights, government should have limited power, the type of government should be accepted by all citizens, absolute monarchy is immoral, government has an obligation to those it governs, and people have the right to overthrow government if the it fails its obligations or takes away natural rights (revolution).