Discuss the relevance of Social Contract theories in the making of ideas of Human Rights

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“What do you understand by human right? Discuss the relevance of Social Contract Theory in making of ideas of human right”


The report discusses about Human rights and Social contract theory and how social contract theory is related in making the idea of human rights. The whole report focuses on how social contract theory is being implemented for the well fare of the society and how it shaped human rights in the society. Human right discuss the right and freedom of a person by born and Social contract theory is collection of those right and practice when agreed by reasonable people in the society for secured and fair society. There is also a section in the essay which talks about the history of human right and describes Universal declaration of human right took place. While discussing about human right and social contract theory, have discussed about the types of human right and also two elements of Social Contract theory. Later on, explained that the relevance of Social Contract theory in making of idea of human right.

· Introduction:

The word Rights means legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or power. So rights are something that people are morally or legally allowed to do or have.Every single person is authorized to certain fundamental rights, simply by the fact of being human. These are called “human rights”.In an article the writer Devansha she stated that Human rights are those rights which are fundamental for living and for normal human existence. They are based on the concept that every man and woman, irrespective of caste, creed, color, race and nationality is born with certain fundamental rights such as, right to live, speech, freedom, justice, etc. These rights are therefore, cherished in the constitution of the countries. Some examples of human rights includes: civil and political rights such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, and equality in law and economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to take part in culture, the right to food, the right to work, and the right to education. All human beings are born to be free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and sense of right and wrong and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

1. Definition of human right. Retrieved from:http://www.youthforhumanrights.org/what-are-human-rights.html

2.Defination of human right. Retrieved from: http://www.shareyouressays.com/15341/write-an-essay-on-human-rights

3.examples of human right. Retrieved from :http://www.preservearticles.com/2012032228734/here-is-your-free-essay-on-human-rights.html

· Historical origin of “HUMAN RIGHT”.

…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world ”

—Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

The Universal declaration of human right was formed in response to the violation in Second World War. After the war ended, with the formation of United Nation, international community who vowed so that those kind of disgraceful atrocities will never happen again. The world leaders complement UN chart and later those documents was taken up at the first session of the General Assembly in 1946. The Assembly reviewed this draft and transmitted it to the Economic and Social Council. The Commission, at its first session early in 1947, authorized its members to formulate what it termed “a preliminary draft International Bill of Human Rights”. Later the work was taken over by a formal drafting committee, consisting of members of the Commission from eight States, selected with due regard for geographical distribution.The Universal Declaration of Human Right was framed by 18 members from various political, cultural and religious backgrounds of the Human Rights Commission, with Eleanor Roosevelt as Chair, who began to discuss an International Bill of Rights in 1947. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948.

Despite the fact Universal Declaration of human Rights is not being an obligatory resolution, it is now considered to be a central component of international customary law which may be appealed under appropriate circumstances by national and other judiciaries.

4. History of Universal declaration of human right. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_human_rights

· Types of human right:

The rights are broadly classified into two categories- Moral Rights and Legal Rights.

· Moral rights are basically those own ethical awareness or sense of morality it is not imposed by the court of law, breaking this laws wont lead any punishment by the state.

· On the other hand, legal rights are recognized by the state and are imposed by the court of law. Therefore, breaking or violation of these laws will lead to punishment.The legal right can be further sub-divided into two categories- Civil Rights and Political Rights. The Civil Rights are essential to the free development of individual self. Types of civil rights(1) Right to Life (2) Right to Liberty (3) Right to Property (4) Right to Equality (5) Right to Contract (6) Right to Family (7) Right to form Union & Association(8) Right to Freedom of Religion and Conscience (9) Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression (11) Right to Freedom of Movement(12) Right to Education (13) Right to Freedom of Assembly

But the rights of the people to participate in the affairs of the state such as taking part in election, linking with the government of the state etc. are known as political rights. And lastly the much weighted right is economic right like (Rights like, right to work, right to rest and leisure etc. ) without which civilized living becomes impossible

5. Types of human right. Retrieved from: http://www.preservearticles.com/201104265966/complete-information-on-the-different-types-of-rights-enjoyed-by-citizens-of-india.html

· Social Contract theory:

Social contract theory is a concept used in philosophy, political science and sociology to represent an implicit agreement within a state regarding the rights and responsibilities of the state and its citizens, or more generally a similar harmony between a group and its members, or between individuals. All members within a society are assumed to agree to the terms of the social contract by their choice to stay within the society without violating the contract in return for a guarantee of peace and security

Social contract theory basically holds that in earliest history man lived in a “state of nature.” Before when there were no government existed, a person’s security was his own power and mental awareness. Therefore by agreeing with one another to make a state by contract, men within a given area united together, each surrendering personal freedom as necessary to promote the safety and well-being of all. By this contract the members created a government. The social contract gives rights and responsibilities to both the citizenry and the government.

For example, in Bangladesh citizens yield the powers of prosecution of, and punishment for, criminal offenses to the judicial branch of government. The government, for its part, bears the responsibilities of maintaining public safety for the citizens through the police, court systems, correctional facilities, and all supporting structures.

6. So. Social contract theory : Retrieved from : http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_

· Element of Social Contract theory :

In a web article E-International Relation (Jason Neidleman,2012) stated that there are two principal elements to the social contract. The first is an initial pre-political situation called a “state of nature” by the modern philosophers and the “original position” by Rawls, the most importantmodernadvocate of social contract theory. In this primary situation, everyindividuals are equal, they are equallylocated relative to one another, and they all have some incentive to leave the initial situation in favor of some relative advantage gained by entry into civil society.

The second element is a normative characterization of the parties to the contract. The parties are described as (1) motivated by self-interest, individual will agree to contract if they see they will perceive any benefit from that social intraction (2) concerned for the welfare of others, again they agree only when they recognize that the same advantagewill be give to the their corresponding person and (3) rational or reasonable with respect to the way they understand their own interests, the interests of others, and the just or moral principles that ought to govern their search of those interests.

7. Elements of social contract theory. Retrieved from : http://www.e-ir.info/2012/10/09/the-social-contract-theory-in-a-global-context/

· Relevance of Social Contract Theory and Human right:

The relevance between Social contract theories in making the idea of human right is that Human right is about the moral behavior which is a human social creation developed by a process of biological and social evolution. So it mean is the rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world where as social contract theory is gathering of all our basic or natural duties agreed by majority people in a state of perfect equality and absolute fairness .In a blog name Chanez’s portfolioit is mentioned that famous Philosophers like Hobbes, Locke or Rousseau remark that we need a social contract to live with a minimum of security and to own economic advantages but we have to be subordinate to some rules from a legitimate authority to made respect the law.

So, Social contract theory as political theory explains the justification and the aim of the state and the human right. According to Hobbes’ canonical theory it says “Without society, we would live in a state of nature, where we each have unlimited natural freedoms. The disadvantage of this general independence is that it includes the freedom to harm and to get harmed; there are no positive rights, only natural rights and an endless “war of all against all” (Bellum omnium contra omnes, Hobbes 1651). To avoid this, we jointly agree to an mutual social contract by which we each gain civil rights in return for accepting the responsibility to honor the rights of others, giving up some freedoms to do so. The figurehead of the society we create, representing our joint interests as members and formed by the delegation of our power, is the sovereign state.

8. Retrieved from : http://chanezportfolio.blogspot.com/2009/02/human-rights-as-social-contract.html

· Conclusion:

Human right gives the unlimited freedom and right to every individual by born which will in return make a chaotic society, where every individual will have the right even to harm other .However through the Social contraction people will enjoy civil rights and respect not only their own rights but also the rights toward others in the society.


1. Definition of human right. Retrieved from : http://www.youthforhumanrights.org/what-are-human-rights.html

2. Definition of human right. Retrieved from: http://www.shareyouressays.com/15341/write-an-essay-on-human-rights

3. Examples of human right. Retrieved from : http://www.preservearticles.com/2012032228734/here-is-your-free-essay-on-human-rights.html

4. History of Universal declaration of human right. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_human_rights

5. Types of human right. Retrieved from: http://www.preservearticles.com/201104265966/complete-information-on-the-different-types-of-rights-enjoyed-by-citizens-of-india.html

6. Social contract theory: Retrieved from: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_

7. Elements of social contract theory. Retrieved from: http://www.e-ir.info/2012/10/09/the-social-contract-theory-in-a-global-context/

8. Retrieved from: http://chanezportfolio.blogspot.com/2009/02/human-rights-as-social-contract.html