Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thomas Jefferson on Inalienable Rights

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Declaration of Independence
clipped from
Thomas Jefferson on Politics & Government
1. Inalienable Rights

"[Our] principles [are] founded on the immovable basis of equal right and reason." --Thomas Jefferson to James Sullivan, 1797. ME 9:379

"The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens." --Thomas Jefferson: Note in Destutt de Tracy, "Political Economy," 1816. ME 14:465

"[The] best principles [of our republic] secure to all its citizens a perfect equality of rights." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to the Citizens of Wilmington, 1809. ME 16:336

"In America, no other distinction between man and man had ever been known but that of persons in office exercising powers by authority of the laws, and private individuals. Among these last, the poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire, and generally on a more favored one whenever their rights seem to jar." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:8

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