Essay on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

620 Words3 Pages
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…show more content…
Some of the abuses he describes are shutting off trade with other parts of the world, quartering troops within the colonies, and forcing colonists to be tried in England. Jefferson and others saw these as a violation the people’s right to choose. It was his dream that men should be able to appoint their own government and vote on all decisions that would affect them. Finally, Jefferson states that everybody is entitled to the pursuit of happiness. It is important to note that the colonists took care in not just saying that every man has the right to happiness, but more specifically the pursuit of it. To Jefferson, this meant that when our government is doing its job right, we as a people are and should be able to find our own happiness in life. Today, it means the same thing. It is up to us to chase after whatever it is we desire and make it a reality. The only thing holding us back from doing so should be whatever we as individuals lack, but never our government. These three terms, Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, embody what it means to be an American. Thomas Jefferson wrote them as a call to his fellow people to rise up and fight for what they believed in. The phrase continues to ring true today and inspire us as citizens to do the very same
Open Document