Celeste Friend, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hamilton College, in an undated entry, “Social Contract Theory,” of the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed on Aug. 3, 2021, and available at iep.utm.edu, stated:


“Social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that persons’ moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live. Socrates uses something quite like a social contract argument to explain to Crito why he must remain in prison and accept the death penalty. However, social contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and is given its first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes. After Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are the best known proponents of this enormously influential theory, which has been one of the most dominant theories within moral and political theory throughout the history of the modern West. In the twentieth century, moral and political theory regained philosophical momentum as a result of John Rawls’ Kantian version of social contract theory, and was followed by new analyses of the subject by David Gauthier and others. More recently, philosophers from different perspectives have offered new criticisms of social contract theory. In particular, feminists and race-conscious philosophers have argued that social contract theory is at least an incomplete picture of our moral and political lives, and may in fact camouflage some of the ways in which the contract is itself parasitical upon the subjugations of classes of persons.”

Aug. 3, 2021

“Social Contract: agreement or covenant by which men are said to have abandoned the ‘state of nature’ to form the society in which they now live.

The theory of such a contract, first formulated by the English philosophers Thomas Hobbes (in The Leviathan, 1651) and John Locke, assumes that men at first lived in a state of anarchy in which there was no society, no government, and no organized coercion of the individual by the group. Hobbes maintained that by the social contract men had surrendered their natural liberties in order to enjoy the order and safety of the organized state.

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Locke made the social contract the basis of his advocacy of popular sovereignty, the idea that the monarch or government must reflect the will of the people. Like Locke, the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, in Le Contrat social (1762), found the general will a means of establishing reciprocal rights and duties, privileges, and responsibilities as a basis of the state. Similar ideas were used as a justification for both the American and the French revolutions in the 18th century.

Thomas Jefferson held that the preservation of certain natural rights was an essential part of the social contract, and that ‘consent of the governed’ was fundamental to any exercise of governmental power.”

2005 -Columbia Encyclopedia

Charles Moster, JD, lawyer, in a June 14, 2019 debate, “It’s Debatable: Should Felons Who Have Paid Their Debts to Society Be Allowed to Vote?,” available at lubbockonline.com, stated:


“Although a convicted criminal may complete the terms of his sentence in accordance with the sentencing order, he or she must still abide by any additional penalties imposed under state law. If the legislature determines that suffrage be denied then such is simply an additional component of punishment and well within the legal rights of a state to impose.

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Critically, those states which have endorsed felony disenfranchisement do so based on their belief that these criminals have irreparably broken their social contract or have exhibited traits which question their ability to exercise judgment. Such justification is lawful and logically supports the disenfranchisement determination…

hypothetical “good guy Joe” should never have robbed the 7-Eleven to begin with and may properly be kicked off the voting rolls in perpetuity. He deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law and beyond the time served under his sentence. This is a matter for state governments to decide.”

June 14, 2019

have breached the social contract and, like insane persons, have raised questions about their ability to vote responsibly.”

1978 -Shepherd v Trevino
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