Declaration of Independence

Penned by Thomas Jefferson and signed on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence stated that King George III had violated the rights of the colonists and was establishing a tyrannical reign over them. Many of Jefferson’s ideas of natural rights and property rights were shaped by seventeenth-century philosopher John Locke. Jefferson asserted all people’s rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Locke’s comparable idea asserted “life, liberty, and private property.” Both felt that the purpose of government was to protect the rights of the people, and that individual rights were more important than individuals’ obligations to the state.


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Last updated: 12/29/2017
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