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The social contract and civil disobedience

Uploaded by yours_truly96 on Oct 23, 2017

The social contract and civil disobedience
Civilizations cannot exist without respect for the law. In the discipline of history, civilizations are defined by whether they have written laws. Around 1,700 BC, historians believe the first written laws were created. These were known as the “Code of Hammurabi” which gave birth to the civilization of Babylon. The significance of written laws is extraordinary. Written laws ensure that people understand what is expected of them and justice can be regulated equally for all citizens. To achieve an advanced society, governments are established to enforce laws. In addition, the government provides services to help its citizens be successful and in return they must obey. Respect for the law is reinforced by the “social contract theory.” The social contract is the idea that people are bound to the government by a hypothetical “contract” “signed” by continuing to live, work, and use the services of a given government. To keep order, citizens must accept all the laws given to them. The social contract must be absolute and both the citizens and the government need to uphold their half of the contract.

The most compelling argument for following the law is the idea of the “social contract”. In the dialogue “Crito” by Plato, the character Socrates introduces the “Social Contract.” When his friend, Crito, comes to free him Socrates explains it would be unjust to defect to another city. He imagines the state would say, “After having brought you into the world, and nurtured, and educated you, and given you and every other citizen a share in every good that we had to give, we further proclaim and give the right to every Athenian, that if he does not like is when he has come of age and has seen the ways of the city, and made our acquaintance, he may go where he pleases and take his goods with him; and none of us laws will forbid him or interfere with him.” I believe, that citizens have signed a contract with the state agreeing to abide by their laws, in exchange for their education, the facilitation of business, and their safety. In contrast, Henry David Thoreau believed that the government does nothing but interfere with the lives of people and does not provide effective services. In his words, “…this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of...

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Uploaded by:   yours_truly96

Date:   10/23/2017

Category:   English

Length:   6 pages (1,324 words)

Views:   726

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