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Man's Natural Rights and the Constitution

In: Historical Events

Submitted By austinjoon
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Although the idea that all men are created equal and possess certain inviolable rights was not a novel thought, the American Founders and the Declaration of Independence reinvigorated in the minds of the American colonists that tyrannical and unjust government that encroached on one’s unalienable rights was worthy to be cast out. In that sense, the Declaration of Independence generates two fundamental arguments: that all men are equally born with a set of unalienable rights, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” and that government essentially serves as the fences instituted by its people to protect these rights. However, compared to the sheer gravity of these statements, the Founders do not employ words of great magnitude to convince their audience; rather, they simply state that their arguments of equality and just governance to be simply “self-evident.” Consequently, the underlying principle of the Declaration remains the Founders’ recognition of the unbreakable relationship between the natural rights of man and the functions and requirements of a just government. The Declaration defines a just government as one that prioritizes the protection of its people and their rights. Additionally, a just government only exists through the subsequent earning of trust and consent of its citizens through becoming the reliable protector of their rights to Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness.
Although all men are “by nature, all free, and independent” (Second Treatise Chapter VIII, Locke, 141), they are not simply given documents upon birth that guarantee their inviolable natural rights. Moreover, men are not born with an innate understanding of their rights either, for they are born without reason, and only under parents’ teachings will they be able to later crave and learn to be protective of their rights. But it is the Founders’ understanding that a man’s...

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