Essay Outline For The Declaration Of Independence

Essay Outline For The Declaration Of Independence-18
This argument from inalienable rights was important because of an ambiguity in traditional social contract theory.

This argument from inalienable rights was important because of an ambiguity in traditional social contract theory.

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We thus see why Jefferson focused on inalienable rights in his effort to fasten the charge of tyranny on the British government.

The violation of inalienable rights was a defining characteristic of a tyrannical government, and only against such a government is revolution justified.

According to this approach, legitimate disagreements may occur between subjects and rulers when alienable rights are involved, but no such disputes are justified over the question of inalienable rights.

Government cannot claim any jurisdiction over such rights, because inalienable rights, by their very nature, could never have been transferred to government in the first place.

A man can no more transfer his inalienable rights than he can transfer his moral agency, his ability to reason, and so forth.

This means that inalienable rights could never have been transferred to government in a social contract, so no government can properly claim jurisdiction over them.Therefore, there can be no excuse for the violation of inalienable rights.This is the crucial bright-line test that enables us to distinguish the incidental or well-intentioned violation of rights, which even just governments may occasionally commit, from the deliberate and inexcusable violations of a tyrannical government.(Contrary to the later recollections of Jefferson and Adams, no signing occurred on July 4).Carl Becker suggested that John Adams may have been responsible for the change: “Adams was one of the committee which supervised the printing of the text adopted by Congress, and it may have been at his suggestion that the change was made in printing.” Julian P.That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.After considering this resolution twice (June 8 and 10), Congress postponed further consideration until July 1.Boyd (editor of the massive Princeton edition of ) proposed a different theory: “This alteration may possibly have been made by the printer [John Dunlap] rather than at the suggestion of Congress.”Fortunately for my purpose here, this minor mystery is of no consequence.Both “inalienable” and “unalienable” were used throughout the eighteenth century; they were merely variant spellings of the same word.This prompted an excited John Adams to write to his wife, Abigail: The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.

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