Jefferson declared that the pursuit of happiness was an inalienable right, along with life and liberty. The story goes that Jefferson, on the advice of Benjamin Franklin, substituted the phrase “pursuit of happiness” for the word “property,” which was favored by George Mason.
I believe this is what our founding fathers spoke of in our Declaration of Independence when they wrote: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Because they are civic virtues, not just personal attributes, they implicate the social aspect of eudaimonia. The pursuit of happiness, therefore, is not merely a matter of achieving individual pleasure.
In the Declaration, “the pursuit of happiness” is listed with the other “unalienable rights” of “life” and “liberty.” Those are qualities of existence, states of being. That means it isn’t just about my happiness, especially idiosyncratically defined, but about all citizens’ happiness.
The WHO constitution recognizes “…the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being,” with the right to health including “access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality.” Similarly, the Declaration of Independence doesn’t recognize happiness as a …
an effort to secure or attain; quest: the pursuit of happiness. any occupation, pastime, or the like, in which a person is engaged regularly or customarily: literary pursuits.
The second paragraph of the first article in the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” is on exhibit in the Library of Congress.
Pursuit-of-happiness definitions The pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you don’t do anything illegal or violate the rights of others.
During his lifetime, Washington had four sets of dentures. He began wearing partial dentures by 1781. Despite many people believing they were made of wood, they contained no wood. They were actually made of slave teeth, as well as other materials such as hippopotamus ivory, brass, or gold.
Jefferson encouraged the enslaved at Monticello to “marry”. (The enslaved could not marry legally in Virginia.) He would occasionally buy and sell slaves to keep families together. In 1815, he said that his slaves were “worth a great deal more” due to their marriages.
Alexander Hamilton opposed slavery, as his experiences in life left him very familiar with slavery and its effect on slaves and on slaveholders, although he did negotiate slave transactions for his wife’s family, the Schuylers. John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Paine never owned slaves.
Of the 55 original delegates, only 41 were present on Septem, to sign the proposed Constitution. Three of those present (George Mason and Edmund Randolph of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts) refused to sign what they considered a flawed document.
The founding fathers, said Lincoln, had opposed slavery. They adopted a Declaration of Independence that pronounced all men created equal. They enacted the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 banning slavery from the vast Northwest Territory. To be sure, many of the founders owned slaves.
Although many of the Founding Fathers acknowledged that slavery violated the core American Revolutionary ideal of liberty, their simultaneous commitment to private property rights, principles of limited government, and intersectional harmony prevented them from making a bold move against slavery.