Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Contract theory
(829 words)

1. Fundamentals

The early modern idea that the state, constitution, and socio-economic order had to be based on a legal agreement according to the mutual benefit of the parties involved arose in the 17th century and became widespread in the latter half of the 18th century. It built upon a complex process of the fusion, differentiation, and transformation of earlier Christian notions of unions and alliances, Roman legal principles, and humanistic religious approaches.

At the heart of the Christian tradition s…

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Weber, Wolfgang E.J., “Contract theory”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 21 August 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_029707>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206



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