Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

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One of the most important parts of the Declaration of Independence is its preamble, and, more specifically, certain phrases contained within the preamble. Thomas Jefferson does an excellent job of explaining why the colonies are doing the things they are doing, and is very clear in stating what he and his associates think are the “unalienable rights” of the American people. Among these are “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Probably one of the most famous lines in American history, I have chosen to focus on this phrase and what those three things might have meant to Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers as they prepared this document, as well as what they mean to us today.

First, Jefferson states that every man has the right to life. This is a pretty basic concept, but at the time the King was set on establishing a tyrannical government in North America. This meant that he was willing to do whatever it took to make sure the American people stayed within his control. When he lost control of them, he abandoned them, waged war against them, and killed his own people. This was obviously a violation of what Jefferson saw as one the main rights of every man. Every man has the right to live and to feel safe in his own country. The colonies did not feel safe, and worse, this lack of safety came from somebody that was originally anointed to protect them. Today, this is still and basic and core right. We should all feel safe in the place that we live, and not have to fear for our lives constantly, but focus on moving forward and progressing.

Secondly, it is stated that that we all have the right to liberty. While also a seemingly obvious idea to most of us today, the early American people were in a constant battle with their government over freedom. Most importantly, Jefferson thought it was unfair for a person to be a King just because God appointed them. Instead, he states that the people should decide on who they want to rule...
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