The fight and mention of human rights is centuries old, and is drafted in various manifestos. Ever since the first President of the United States, it has been the duty of the government to protect the rights, needs and interests of its citizens. And not just in America, governments everywhere in the world make sure that their decisions are in the best interest of its people.
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Declaration of Independence
The declaration of Independence was a manifesto, a declaration that announced the separation of America from Great Britain. It was originally published in 1776, written by the Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston.
The first mention of unalienable rights comes from the Declaration of Independence, where it is mentioned that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the three natural rights of a person that shall not be taken or given away. Other than these, the declaration talks about all men being equal regardless of their race or ethnicity, and that people have the civic duty to protect these rights for themselves and others.
Notably, in history, it was Thomas Jefferson who added unalienable rights in the manifesto, and pushed the governments to protect the rights given to man by his Creator.
Inalienable, also referred to as unalienable, precisely means the same thing. Inalienable rights are birth rights that cannot be taken or given away from a person. The first mention of these was in the Declaration of Independence, and even though the term doesn’t quite exist today, these rights have been the foreground for declarations and other laws around the world.
Unalienable Rights Examples
As individuals of the modern world, we’re entirely content with the possibility that a few rights are simply ensured. We want the freedom of speech, freedom of practicing any religion we like and freedom of expressing our thoughts and opinions. These rights are not the same as having the freedom or the right to drive (which wouldn’t be a fundamental right), and could be revoked if you’re a high-risk driver.
These driving rights can be taken away, but inalienable rights are the ones that can never never be relinquished. They’re central pieces of mankind, the reason for moral connections among individuals, and are irreversible. So they’re a pretty serious deal. Nobody has the right to take away inalienable rights from a person given to them by their Creator.
Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness
The three major rights that are a part of inalienable rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are called natural rights, that are given to people during their birth; the right to life, the right to liberty and happiness.
The pursuit of happiness often sets on a blurry line in the Declaration of Independence, as to exactly what pursuit means. The literal definition of this is ‘chasing’ happiness- that people should be looking for happiness and that this emotion is something to be seeked and reached out to.
However, when the declaration was signed, this is not what the Founding Fathers meant. The pursuit of happiness was something to be experienced, that people shall have the right to experience and practice their own definition of happiness, the way they deem best.
This is yet one very important alienable right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, that people should be allowed to be happy, not just pretend to be happy by always seeking it. Happiness is in the little things, and the definition of happiness oddly varies from person to person, thus setting boundaries for happiness is not only unjust but also irrelevant.
The Declaration of Independence states ‘to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men’. What does it intend to state, as you have composed, that ‘the Declaration makes that obtaining and practicing of happiness a matter of government and public policy, not one of individual leisure or pleasure?’
Governments need to devise policies in their states to ensure all citizens are being given basic natural rights. In the event that happiness is akin to life and liberty- as the Declaration says about the pursuit of happiness- not just one person’s happiness but for everyone. People can be happy when freedom is given to them: freedom of religion, of doing the job they like, giving free healthcare, lots of high paying job opportunities etc. The Founding Fathers made it clear that it was the government’s responsibility to provide the three unalienable rights to its citizens.
Even centuries ago in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Founding Fathers made it a point to add basic human rights in the manifesto. Such words hold enough power even today, especially the mention of unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That these rights are natural rights given to each citizen by their Creator and no one can take these away, instead, the governments of each state should make sure that the people are receiving these basic rights.