2 July 2013

The Sovereign

The social contract theory of origin of state belongs to the liberal school of thought which treats the state as a creation of man with a definite purpose to serve certain social needs. This theory holds that men created the state as a result of mutual agreement or contract among themselves. Thus, the state is a product of the will of society and is intended to serve the interests of all its members i.e. society. Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau are the three main thinkers associated with the social contract theory. The theory explains two life-patterns; one before the origin of state (state of nature), the other after the creation of the state.

According to Hobbes, the state of nature is gloomy. It represents total uncertainty, chaos and constant warfare because everyone is selfish by nature. The life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Thus men entered into a contract by which they abandon this insecure state of nature to create a sovereign (state) that enjoys supreme and absolute authority. Jason Campbell explains how the need for a sovereign arises: