The Writings of Thomas Jefferson - Vol. 16

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson - Vol. 16

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The Writings of Thomas Jefferson - Vol. 16

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson - Vol. 16

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Jefferson is a pole star among political philosophers because he based his politics on the eternal, self-evident, fundamental truths that all men are created free and equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inherent and unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How are the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness primarily to be exercised? Not in the political field, but in the underlying social field. How shall a man get an independent living precedes how shall he participate in general government. He cannot exercise, or fully exercise, his political faculties until, without let or hindrance, he can get sustenance.

Hence Jefferson's political axiom involves as a prerequisite a social or economic axiom, without observance of which political institutions can be only as a house built upon the sand. This economic axiom is that men have equal rights to natural opportunities, to land. On land mankind must have its habitation and from it it must draw subsistence. Nowhere else, from no other source, can it live. Therefore, the rights of life, liberty and the . . .

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