What is the social contract by the theory of Thomas Hobbes?
Hobbes describes a social contract as being ‟the mutual transferring of rights”. Prior to the establishment of these contracts, humanity survived living within ‟A state of nature”. Hobbes illustrates humanity’s existence within this ‟state of nature” as a miserable, unfulfilling existence and describes it as being ‟solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. This state of nature contains features that motivate us to engage in a conflict which Hobbes would consider to be remedied by subjects entering into a social contract. Hobbes sees this state of nature as a system in which every individual naturally has equality however because of the natural equality possessed by all individuals there can be no natural hierarchy, and thus there is an absence of natural law and in turn all individuals would have the right to do what they feel is necessary in order for self-preservation. Hobbes suggests that this state of nature does not produce unity and cooperation and instead is more likely to produce conflict.
Hobbes believed that ingrained in each man was the yearning for security and order, to achieve this sense of security it was necessary for man to have a sense of self-preservation with the absence of pain, this could be achieved by a man entering into a contract. Hobbes states that a commonwealth is founded when a number of people ‟confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon one assembly of men, that may reduce all their wills”. This single will that Hobbes describes refers to the will of the sovereign, once the individuals submit their power to the sovereign then it is at the discretion of the sovereign as to how he decides to use the strength and power he has been granted. Now that the sovereign has been granted the power over the individuals who are now his subjects. Hobbes describes the sovereign as now being ‟the absolute power” as a result of the individuals transferring the natural rights they possessed on to the Sovereign rendering the sole sovereign owner of the natural right. This puts the sovereign in the position of where none of his subjects can rival him or attempt to prevent the sovereign from obtaining what he wishes. The sovereign is now also in the position to use his subjects in order to gain what he wants rendering the sovereign the greatest power.