Social Contract Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson we help our students understand the concept of social contracts, help them recognize the social contract in our country, and encourage them to develop their own to more fully understand the concept.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand what a basic social contract is
  • Recognize the theoretical role of the social contract in revolution and rebellions
  • Understand some of the strengths and weaknesses of strong and weak social contracts


50 minutes

Key Vocabulary

At the conclusion of this lesson, students should be able to identify and define the following vocabulary term:

  • social contract

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


  • Have students read the lesson What is a Social Contract? - Definition & Examples
  • Hold a class discussion (15-20 minutes) about what a social contract is, whether one exists in America, and what it entails. Be sure to write down main ideas and points made by the students on the board. Some example discussion questions include:
    • Now that you know what a social contract is, what do you think is included in America's social contract?
    • What should be included in a social contract? What shouldn't? Are there any limits?
    • At what point would you consider the American government to have broken its social contract with the people? Would this breach be repairable?
    • Have students take the quiz.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account