A social contract is an agreement among members of a society to cooperate for social benefits. The most prominent example, around which Rousseau first described the social contract in 1762,1 is democratic governance, in which free citizens exchange some individual freedom for shared state protections. In democracies, a number of different structures and documents, such as laws and regulations, make the social contract tangible—and keep it open to debate and evolution.
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JAMA: 2014-02-25, Vol. 311, No. 8, Author Reading
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