"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the "unalienable rights" which the Declaration says have been given to all humans by their creator, and which governments are created to protect.
The United States Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and then edited by the Committee of Five, which consisted of Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. It was then further edited and adopted by the Committee of the Whole of the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The second paragraph of the first article in the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".
We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; ...
The Committee of Five edited Jefferson's draft. Their version survived further edits by the whole Congress intact, and reads:
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. ——
A number of possible sources or inspirations for Jefferson's use of the phrase in the Declaration of Independence have been identified, although scholars debate the extent to which any one of them actually influenced Jefferson. Jefferson declared himself an Epicurean during his lifetime: this is a philosophical doctrine that teaches the pursuit of happiness, here meaning "prosperity, thriving, wellbeing", and proposes autarchy, which translates as self-rule, self-sufficiency or freedom. The greatest disagreement comes between those who suggest the phrase was drawn from John Locke and those who identify some other source.
In 1689, Locke argued in his Two Treatises of Government that political society existed for the sake of protecting "property", which he defined as a person's "life, liberty, and estate". In A Letter Concerning Toleration, he wrote that the magistrate's power was limited to preserving a person's "civil interest", which he described as "life, liberty, health, and indolency of body; and the possession of outward things". He declared in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding that "the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness".
According to those scholars who saw the root of Jefferson's thought in Locke's doctrine, Jefferson replaced "estate" with "the pursuit of happiness", although this does not mean that Jefferson meant the "pursuit of happiness" to refer primarily or exclusively to property. Under such an assumption, the Declaration of Independence would declare that government existed primarily for the reasons Locke gave, and some have extended that line of thinking to support a conception of limited government.
The first and second article of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason and adopted unanimously by the Virginia Convention of Delegates on June 12, 1776, speaks of happiness in the context of recognizably Lockean rights and is paradigmatic of the way in which "the fundamental natural rights of mankind" were expressed at the time.
That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Benjamin Franklin was in agreement with Thomas Jefferson in playing down protection of "property" as a goal of government. It is noted that Franklin found property to be a "creature of society" and thus, he believed that it should be taxed as a way to finance civil society.
In 1628, Sir Edward Coke wrote in The First Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England, his commentary on Thomas de Littleton, that "It is commonly said that three things be favoured in Law, Life, Liberty, Dower." At common law, dower was closely guarded as a means by which the widow and orphan of a deceased landowner could keep their real property.
Garry Wills has argued that Jefferson did not take the phrase from Locke and that it was indeed meant to be a standard by which governments should be judged. Wills suggests Adam Ferguson as a good guide to what Jefferson had in mind:
If, in reality, courage and a heart devoted to the good of mankind are the constituents of human felicity, the kindness which is done infers a happiness in the person from whom it proceeds, not in him on whom it is bestowed; and the greatest good which men possessed of fortitude and generosity can procure to their fellow creatures is a participation of this happy character. If this be the good of the individual, it is likewise that of mankind; and virtue no longer imposes a task by which we are obliged to bestow upon others that good from which we ourselves refrain; but supposes, in the highest degree, as possessed by ourselves, that state of felicity which we are required to promote in the world.
The 17th-century cleric and philosopher Richard Cumberland wrote that promoting the well-being of our fellow humans is essential to the "pursuit of our own happiness". Locke never associated natural rights with happiness, but his philosophical opponent Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz made such an association in the introduction to his Codex Iuris Gentium. William Wollaston's The Religion of Nature Delineated describes the "truest definition" of "natural religion" as being "The pursuit of happiness by the practice of reason and truth". An English translation of Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui's Principles of Natural and Politic Law prepared in 1763 extolled the "noble pursuit" of "true and solid happiness" in the opening chapter discussing natural rights. Historian Jack Rakove posits Burlamaqui as the inspiration for Jefferson's phrase.
Another possible source for the phrase is in the Commentaries on the Laws of England published by Sir William Blackstone, from 1765 to 1769, which are often cited in the laws of the United States. Blackstone argues that God 'has so intimately connected, so inseparably interwoven the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual, that the latter cannot be attained but by observing the former; and, if the former be punctually obeyed, it cannot but induce the latter. In consequence of which mutual connection of justice and human felicity, he has not perplexed the law of nature with a multitude of abstracted rules and precepts, referring merely to the fitness or unfitness of things, as some have vainly surmised; but has graciously reduced the rule of obedience to this one paternal precept, “that man should pursue his own true and substantial happiness.” This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law.'
Other tripartite mottos include "liberté, égalité, fraternité" (liberty, equality, fraternity) in France; "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" (unity, justice and liberty) in Germany and "peace, order, and good government" in Canada. It is also similar to a line in the Canadian Charter of Rights: "life, liberty, security of the person" (this line was also in the older Canadian Bill of Rights, which added "enjoyment of property" to the list).
The phrase can also be found in Chapter III, Article 13 of the 1947 Constitution of Japan, and in President Ho Chi Minh's 1945 declaration of independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. An alternative phrase "life, liberty, and property", is found in the Declaration of Colonial Rights, a resolution of the First Continental Congress. The Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution declare that governments cannot deprive any person of "life, liberty, or property" without due process of law. Also, Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person".
...arguably owed more to Jefferson's reading of the Swiss jurist Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui than it did to his manifest debt to John Locke.
The American Enlightenment was a period of intellectual ferment in the thirteen American colonies in the 17th to 18th century, which led to the American Revolution, and the creation of the United States of America. The American Enlightenment was influenced by the 17th-century European Enlightenment and its own native American philosophy. According to James MacGregor Burns, the spirit of the American Enlightenment was to give Enlightenment ideals a practical, useful form in the life of the nation and its people.The Enlightenment applied scientific reasoning to politics, science, and religion. It promoted religious tolerance and restored literature, arts, and music as important disciplines worthy of study in colleges. "New-model" American style colleges were founded such as King's College New York (now Columbia University), and the College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania). Yale College and the College of William & Mary were reformed. A non-denominational moral philosophy replaced theology in many college curricula. Even Puritan colleges such as the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and Harvard University reformed their curricula to include natural philosophy (science), modern astronomy, and mathematics.
Among the foremost representatives of the American Enlightenment were presidents of colleges, including Puritan religious leaders Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Clap, and Ezra Stiles, and Anglican moral philosophers Samuel Johnson and William Smith. The leading political thinkers were John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Paine, George Mason, James Wilson, Ethan Allen, and Alexander Hamilton, and polymaths Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Leading scientists included Benjamin Franklin for his work on electricity, William Smith for his organization and observations of the Transit of Venus, Jared Eliot for his work in metallurgy and agriculture, the astronomer David Rittenhouse in astronomy, math, and instruments, Benjamin Rush in medical science, Charles Willson Peale in natural history, and Cadwallader Colden for his work in botany and town sanitation. Colden's daughter, Jane Colden, was the first female botanist working in America. Count Rumford was a leading scientist, especially in the field of heat.American patriotism
American Patriotism is patriotism involving cultural attachment to the United States of America. Identified as related to American Nationalism, despite many diverse ethnic backgrounds in the United States, pride in the American way of life is common amongst all of the citizens; the US constitution is at the center of this national pride.American way
The American way of life or simply the American way is the unique lifestyle of the people of the United States of America. It refers to a nationalist ethos that adheres to the principle of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At the center of the American way is the American Dream that upward mobility is achievable by any American through hard work. This concept is intertwined with the concept of American exceptionalism, the belief in the unique culture of the nation.
Author William Herberg offers the following definition:
The American Way of life is individualistic, dynamic, and pragmatic. It affirms the supreme value and dignity of the individual; it stresses incessant activity on his part, for he is never to rest but is always to be striving to "get ahead"; it defines an ethic of self-reliance, merit, and character, and judges by achievement: "deeds, not creeds" are what count. The "American Way of Life" is humanitarian, "forward-looking", optimistic. Americans are easily the most generous and philanthropic people in the world, in terms of their ready and unstinting response to suffering anywhere on the globe. The American believes in progress, in self-improvement, and quite fanatically in education. But above all, the American is idealistic. Americans cannot go on making money or achieving worldly success simply on its own merits; such "materialistic" things must, in the American mind, be justified in "higher" terms, in terms of "service" or "stewardship" or "general welfare"... And because they are so idealistic, Americans tend to be moralistic; they are inclined to see all issues as plain and simple, black and white, issues of morality.
One commentator notes, "The first half of Herberg's statement still holds true nearly half a century after he first formulated it", even though "Herberg's latter claims have been severely if not completely undermined... materialism no longer needs to be justified in high-sounding terms".In the National Archives and Records Administration's 1999 Annual Report, National Archivist John W. Carlin writes, "We are different because our government and our way of life are not based on the divine right of kings, the hereditary privileges of elites, or the enforcement of deference to dictators. They are based on pieces of paper, the Charters of Freedom - the Declaration that asserted our independence, the Constitution that created our government, and the Bill of Rights that established our liberties."Clinica de Migrantes
Clinica de Migrantes is a 2016 HBO documentary short produced by Third Party Films that investigates the intersection between immigration and healthcare through the work of Puentes de Salud, a volunteer-run network of clinics providing preventive care to the Latino community of South Philadelphia.It has won several awards, including the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films Best Documentary Short Award and the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival Norman Vaughan Human Spirit Award (2016).Declarationism
Declarationism is a legal philosophy that incorporates the United States Declaration of Independence into the body of case law on level with the United States Constitution. It holds that the Declaration is a natural law document and so that natural law has a place within American jurisprudence. Its main proponents include Harry V. Jaffa and other members of the Claremont Institute. Some proponents claim that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is a follower of this school of thought; however, Thomas is more widely considered a member of the strict constructionist school.
In Cotting v. Godard, 183 U.S. 79 (1901), the United States Supreme Court stated:
The first official action of this nation declared the foundation of government in these words: "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. "While such declaration of principles may not have the force of organic law, or be made the basis of judicial decision as to the limits of right and duty, and while in all cases reference must be had to the organic law of the nation for such limits, yet the latter is but the body and the letter of which the former is the thought and the spirit, and it is always safe to read the letter of the Constitution in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. No duty rests more imperatively upon the courts than the enforcement of those constitutional provisions intended to secure that equality of rights which is the foundation of free government."Proponents claim that the concept is derived from the philosophical structure contained in the Declaration of Independence and assertion that it was the Declaration that revealed the United States as a new emergent nation, the Constitution creating only the federal government. According to this view, the authority to create the Constitution derives from the prior act of nation-creation accomplished by the Declaration. The Declaration declares that the people have a right to alter or abolish any government once it becomes destructive of their natural rights. The turn away from the Articles of Confederation with the ratification of the Constitution was an action of this sort and so the Constitution's authority exists within the legal framework established by the Declaration. The Constitution cannot, then, be interpreted as though it were the foundation of constitutional law, in the absence of principles derived from the Declaration.
Though philosophically conservative, Declarationists such as Jaffa have been outspoken critics of originalist construction jurists including Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, and William Rehnquist, likening them to legal positivists. Bork and legal scholar Lino Graglia have, in turn, critiqued the Declarationist position, retorting that it is single-mindedly obsessive over the Dred Scott decision and resembles a theology rather than a legal doctrine.Freeborn
"Freeborn" is a term associated with political agitator John Lilburne (1614–1657), a member of the Levellers, a 17th-century English political party. As a word, "freeborn" means born free, rather than in slavery or bondage or vassalage. Lilburne argued for basic human rights that he termed "freeborn rights", which he defined as being rights that every human being is born with, as opposed to rights bestowed by government or by human law. John Lilburne's concept of freeborn rights, and the writings of Richard Overton another Leveller, may have influenced the concept of unalienable rights, (Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.) mentioned in the United States Declaration of Independence.Other historians, according to Edward Ashbee, consider that it was not the tradition of "Freeborn Englishmen", as espoused by Lilburne, Overton, John Milton and John Locke, that was the major influence on the concept of unalienable rights in the United States Declaration of Independence, but rather "an attempt to recreate 'civic republicanism' established in classical Greece and Rome".Glittering generality
A glittering generality (also called glowing generality) is an emotionally appealing phrase so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that it carries conviction without supporting information or reason. Such highly valued concepts attract general approval and acclaim. Their appeal is to emotions such as love of country and home, and desire for peace, freedom, glory, and honor. They ask for approval without examination of the reason. They are typically used by politicians and propagandists.Liberty
Broadly speaking, liberty (Latin: Libertas) is the ability to do as one pleases. In politics, liberty consists of the social, political, and economic freedoms to which all community members are entitled. In philosophy, liberty involves free will as contrasted with determinism. In theology, liberty is freedom from the effects of "sin, spiritual servitude, [or] worldly ties."Sometimes liberty is differentiated from freedom by using the word "freedom" primarily, if not exclusively, to mean the ability to do as one wills and what one has the power to do; and using the word "liberty" to mean the absence of arbitrary restraints, taking into account the rights of all involved. In this sense, the exercise of liberty is subject to capability and limited by the rights of others. Thus liberty entails the responsible use of freedom under the rule of law without depriving anyone else of their freedom. Freedom is more broad in that it represents a total lack of restraint or the unrestrained ability to fulfill one's desires. For example, a person can have the freedom to murder, but not have the liberty to murder, as the latter example deprives others of their right not to be harmed. Liberty can be taken away as a form of punishment. In many countries, people can be deprived of their liberty if they are convicted of criminal acts.
The word "liberty" is often used in slogans, such as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" or "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity".Liberty is originally Latin word libertas, derived from the name of archaic Roman god Liber. In his original Roman conception, Liber was probably a god who presided over male fertility and especially the act of ejaculation.Lincoln at Gettysburg
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America written by Garry Wills and published by Simon & Schuster in 1992, won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.The book uses Lincoln's notably short speech at Gettysburg to examine his rhetoric overall. In particular, Wills compares Lincoln's speech to Edward Everett's delivered on the same day, focusing on the influences of the Greek revival in the United States and 19th century transcendentalist thought. Wills also argues that Lincoln's speech draws from his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution; Lincoln considered the Declaration of Independence the first founding document and therefore, looked to its emphasis on equality (changing Locke's phrase "Life, Liberty, and Property" to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness") in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.Meriden Britannia Company
The Meriden Britannia Company was formed in 1852 in Meriden, Connecticut
as a manufacturing company focused on producing wares in britannia metal.
By 1876, the Meriden Britannia Company had grown a great deal and the company made significant efforts at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in that year. The company won the First Place medal for plated wares. According to Sotheby's in New York, "The publicity of the award and the impression the firm made on the fair's 8 million visitors was continued by the catalogues and other intensive marketing; by the end of the 1870s Meriden Britannia Co. was considered the largest silverware company in the world."By 1891, Meriden Britannia had warerooms in New York (46 East 14th Street, Union Square); Chicago (47 State Street); San Francisco (134 Sutter Street); London, England (7 Cripplegate Buildings, Wood Street, E.C.); and Paris, France (26 Avenue De' L'Opera). The main factories were in Meriden and a branch factory was in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.By 1893, the company had expanded production with its floor surface covering over eight acres of space in downtown Meriden.In 1898, the Meriden Britannia Company became part of the larger International Silver Company corporation headquartered in Meriden. Afterwards, while part of ISC, many designs were produced under the Meriden Britannia brand with design trade catalogues specifying Meriden Britannia wares.
Meriden Britannia Company designs are included in many museum collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; Davis Museum at Wellesley College, MA; Jewish Museum, New York; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT; Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Wolfsonian FIU, Miami Beach, FL; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.Recent museum exhibitions featuring Meriden Britannia designs include Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (2008–12) at the Yale University Art Gallery, and travelled to Louisville, KY; Seattle, WA; and Birmingham, AL. In 1994-95, Meriden Britannia was included in the Dallas Museum of Art's Silver in America, 1840-1940: A century of splendor exhibition, and in 1986-87 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibition In pursuit of beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement. In 1985, Meriden Britannia was included in a special exhibition at the Palácio Nacional da Ajudo, Lisbon, Portugal, which was organized on the occasion of U.S. President Ronald Reagan and the First Lady's visit to the city.Peace, order, and good government
In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the phrase "peace, order, and good government" (POGG) is an expression used in law to express the legitimate objects of legislative powers conferred by statute. The phrase appears in many Imperial Acts of Parliament and Letters Patent, most notably the constitutions of Canada, Australia and formerly New Zealand and South Africa.
It is often contrasted with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", a spiritually analogous phrase found in the US Declaration of Independence.Reformed Church on Staten Island
Reformed Church on Staten Island an historic Dutch Reformed Church and Cemetery at 54 Port Richmond Avenue in Port Richmond, Staten Island, New York, has a Congregation that in 1665 brought their beliefs to the New World: personal and religious liberty, and economic opportunity. Today, we call these beliefs the American Dream.
In 1776 America's Founding Fathers embedded these beliefs into the Declaration of Independence as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our Congregants fought for both sides -- on Staten Island the American Revolution was a vicious civil war. Our Patriots played pivotal roles, especially Joshua Mersereau, personally recruited by George Washington to spy, who is recognized on the Central Intelligence Agency website, as a founder of American intelligence. In 1783 our Patriot and Loyalist Congregants reconciled and set to work rebuilding our destroyed 1717 Church, and fashioning their new nation.
Our Congregant, Cornelius Vanderbilt, born in 1794, exploited these beliefs into a legendary fortune, as he created our modern business world.
The Reformed Church has been at this exact site since 1680. The first church was built shortly hereafter. The second church, built in 1717, was destroyed by the British during the Revolution. The third church was built in 1787. The current church, was built in 1844 in the Greek Revival style. It is a brick building set on a fieldstone foundation. The front facade features a portico with twin sets of flanking brick pilasters and a central pair of fluted Doric order columns.It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.Sheffield Declaration
The Sheffield Declaration, also known as the Sheffield Resolves, was a Colonial American petition against British tyranny and manifesto for individual rights, drawn up as a series of resolves approved by the Town of Sheffield, Massachusetts, on January 12, 1773 and printed in The Massachusetts Spy, Or, Thomas's Boston Journal on February 18, 1773. The meeting took place in the Colonel John Ashley House, a registered National Historic Landmark in Ashley Falls, a neighborhood of Sheffield, Massachusetts.
The resolves were debated and approved by a committee of eleven local citizens: Deacon Silas Kellog, Col. John Ashley (committee moderator), Dr. Lemuel Bernard, Aaron Root, Major John Fellows, Philip Callender, Capt. William Day, Deacon Ebenezer Smith, Capt. Daniel Austin, Capt. Stephen Dewey, and Theodore Sedgwick, who wrote the text.The Declaration's first resolution was that "Mankind in a state of nature are equal, free, and independent of each other, and have a right to the undisturbed enjoyment of their lives, their liberty and property," These words are echoed in the most famous line of Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence three years later: "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."Spirit Rock Meditation Center
Spirit Rock Meditation Center, commonly called Spirit Rock, is a meditation center in Woodacre, California. It focuses on the teachings of the Buddha as presented in the vipassana, or Insight Meditation, tradition. It was founded in 1987 as Insight Meditation West, and is visited by an estimated 40,000 people a year. The San Francisco Chronicle has called it one of "the Bay Area's best-known centers for Buddhist meditation."The Pursuit of Happiness
The Pursuit of Happiness or The Pursuit of Happyness may refer to:
"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", a phrase in the United States Declaration of IndependenceTiffany Shlain
Tiffany Shlain (born April 8, 1970) is an American filmmaker, author, and public speaker. Regarded as an internet pioneer, Shlain is the founder of the Webby Awards and the co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.Virginia Association
The Virginia Association was a series of non-importation agreements adopted by Virginians in 1769 as a way of speeding economic recovery and opposing the Townshend Acts. Drafted by George Mason and passed by the Virginia House of Burgesses in May 1769, the Virginia Association was a way for Virginians to stand united against continued British taxation and trade control. The Virginia Association served as the framework and precursor to the larger more powerful Continental Association.Virginia Declaration of Rights
The Virginia Declaration of Rights is a document drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent rights of men, including the right to reform or abolish "inadequate" government. It influenced a number of later documents, including the United States Declaration of Independence (1776) and the United States Bill of Rights (1789).Woodbridge (plantation)
Woodbridge was a plantation formerly located on the Occoquan River in Prince William County, Virginia, across from Colchester. There was a ferry there. George Mason, a United States founding father, willed the land to Thomas Mason, his youngest son, in 1792. The unincorporated city of Woodbridge takes its name from the plantation.
Historical documents of the United States
the United States