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John Locke's theory of the social contract. The theory was that governments are formed to protect the natural rights of citizens. If the government fails to act in the best interests of its people then the people have the right to rebel and replace that government
These ideas are reflected in the Declaration of Independence when Jefferson says that the government's powers come from "consent of the governed" and that the people have the right to "alter or to abolish" the government. As a matter of fact the entire Declaration is based on the idea that the British government was not acting in the best interests of the colonists and that was the reason for the American Revolution.
These same ideas are reflected in the Constitution in many ways, but the most obvious is the Bill of Rights. These ten amendments were added to make sure the government is held responsible for protecting the "natural rights" of American citizens.