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Thomas Jefferson & the Declaration of Independence

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Thomas Jefferson substituted 'pursuit of happiness' for the word 'property' in the Declaration of Independence, because he and others needed to get the southern states to vote affirmatively on the adoption of the new government as set forth in the Constitution. Assume for a moment that you are Jefferson, would you have done the same? Or would you have risked the vote down of the constitution? Defend your choice.

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Solution Preview

There is an important error that has been made in the question. It is true that the phrase "pursuit of happiness" does appear in the Unanimous Declaration of Independence for the Thirteen united States of America. However, it does not appear in the Constitution for the united States of America. In fact, the Congress that created the current constitution wasn't held until 1789, thirteen years after the signatories signed the Declaration of Independence.

Therefore, the assumption that he substituted "pursuit of happiness" for "property" in order to get the southern states to vote affirmatively to adopt the new government as set forth in the Constitution is not accurate. There was no Constitution at that time when the signatories signed the Declaration of Independence, and there was no government set forth in said document. The issue did not involve a risked vote down of the constitution.

Regardless, what was the relevance of the changed phrase? We all know that Jefferson relied heavily ...

Solution Summary

The solution helps the student in tackling the original problem (see problem) regarding the substitution & choices of certain phrases by Thomas Jefferson for inclusion in the declaration of Indepence. It provides a historical and critical analysis of the reasons behind Jefferson's actions and what it implies.

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Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence

When Thomas Jefferson (along with a few others) put together the Declaration of Independence it was his version on what an "ideal society" would be. If I understand it correctly - he relies on the argument that since the King did not follow rules that governed society that the people had a right to re-create a society.
Now what I am trying to figure out is:
Let's say I am a 'Relativist' and I am challenging Thomas Jefferson that there is NO "Ideal Society", what are some points that I would need as ammunition to argue with Thomas Jefferson on his version of an 'Ideal Society'. ?While all the time making sure the conversation is based on the "argument' basis of the Declaration of Independence and not on the descriptions of it?

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