Jefferson ended his draft by stating, "we do assert and declare these colonies to be free and independent states. In the Declaration of Independence natural and individual rights are a class of rights that protect individuals from being taken away by the government. Jefferson's Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms stopped short of declaring independence, but pointed out the folly of governing the American colonies from England. The assertion is hard to deny because, in his paper, Locke wrote that all people are born with certain, God-given “inalienable” natural rights that governments can neither grant nor revoke, including “life, liberty, and property.”. The complete text of the Declaration of Independence, Two interviews with with Pauline Maier, a Professor of History at MIT and author of American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. In the first two paragraphs of that fateful document adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, Jefferson revealed his idea of natural rights in the often-quoted phrases, “all men are created equal,” “inalienable rights,” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”. Robert Longley is a U.S. government and history expert with over 30 years of experience in municipal government and urban planning. Others prefer to keep the terms separate in order to avoid the mistaken association of the aspects of human rights not typically applied to natural rights. Free subscription to Bill of Rights in Action. © 2001, Constitutional Rights Foundation, 601 South Kinglsey Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90005, (213) 487-5590 Fax (213) 386-0459, Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms. “We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.” – The Declaration of Independence. Republic vs. Democracy: What Is the Difference? The delegates made some small changes to improve the Declaration's clarity and accuracy. Since 1776, no words in the Declaration of Independence have received more attention than Jefferson's phrase, "All men are created equal." John Locke was an English philosopher who believed that each and every human were given rights once they were born. Other delegates may have feared the possible loss of their financial support for the expected Revolutionary War. When the authors of the U.S. He then went on to offer proof that revolution was necessary in 1776 to end King George's tyranny over the colonists. Meanwhile, the royal governor of Virginia offered freedom to slaves who joined the British cause. In this activity, students discuss some of the ideals in the Declaration of Independence. Locke also argued that along with land and belongings, “property” included the individual’s “self,” which included well being or happiness. It persuaded many colonists that America should be independent. What similarities and differences do you see? The fourth section is the Resolution of Independence, which states that the colonists have officially … These ideas were, so to speak, "in the air" at the time. On June 8, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to write a declaration of independence and quickly appointed a committee to draft a formal document. "All men are created equal." PBS Newhour. 2. Together with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence can be counted as one of the three essential founding documents of the United States government. It was later referred to in the Bible and further developed during the Middle Ages. There would be no turning back now. List the main ideas in John Locke's theory of natural rights and revolution. What Is a Constitutionally Limited Government? Current subscribers - switch to electronic-only delivery and your copy will arrive up to 2 weeks before the printed issue.