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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Updated on June 2, 2013
The U.S. constitution gives the American people the unalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
The U.S. constitution gives the American people the unalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

The text of the second section of the Declaration of Independence reads:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". This means that government is morally obliged to serve people, namely by protecting life, liberty, and property. John Locke believed that there should be laws and principles in place limiting the power of government. He insisted that when government violates individual rights, people may legitimately rebel.

Now I am not saying people should get up in arms and rebel by any means. But our forefathers that wrote our constitution believed in Locke’s influential writings. And they used them as a stepping stone to write our constitution. Let’s look at these terms and think about what they mean.

Life: A human being has a fundamental right to live. Also this human being has the right not to be killed by another human being.

Liberty: A concept where human beings are able to govern themselves. They have the right to their own free will. And they should take responsibility for their own actions.

Pursuit of Happiness: A human being has the right to happiness as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.

I believe that our government, for the most part supports the fundamental right to life. Without it there wouldn’t be many people that would/could vote them into office. This does bring up the question of a socialized health care plan, but that is for another hub. The only issue to this right is the extent. If you are flipping burgers at the local burger joint it is not going to be easy to get to work. More than likely you will need a car. Okay you have a car? Great now you need to pay for an inspection, registration, tags, insurance, and gas. You have to be able to afford a roof over your head. You have to be able to afford sustenance like food and water. You have to be able to afford your utilities, insurance, taxes, etc… If you can’t afford some of these things, then how long do you think you will keep breathing or living?

As for liberty, I do not believe that the government backs us up as much on this one. I am truly against big government, especially on a Federal level. Let’s ask some questions here.

1. Do you have the right to kill yourself? The answer is no it is actually illegal to kill yourself.

2. Do you own your own home and the land that it sits on? The answer is not really. You are paying a mortgage. If you have paid off that mortgage then you are still paying taxes. If you stop paying your taxes, how long do you think the government is going to let you live in “your house”?

3. Do you own your own car? I would have to answer yes and no. If you paid it off it is yours, but you have to pay taxes on it, you have to register it, you have to have it inspected, you have to have it pass emissions.

The pursuit of Happiness isn’t even on the board anymore, or if it is then there is a huge gap in the scale. If you travel to other countries you will see people that are truly happy. They think Americans are crazy in the amount of hours that we put in at our jobs; and the amount of money we have to pay in taxes. They are able to spend time with their families and friends. Now I am not saying all countries, there are truly some horrible places in this world that people live in. I also believe that America is still a great country; it just isn’t as great as it used to be. But let’s get back to the point. Many of us suffer under a corporatized bureaucracy where basic needs are not met. Americans are living in poverty. Many are homeless, malnourished, uneducated, illiterate, jobless, and in need of healthcare, the list just goes on and on. Does this sound like happiness to you? When are we going to stop lining the pockets of those in Washington? When are we going to stop telling other countries what to do and start taking a good look at our own country?

America is a great country to live in. But we need to get away from big government and go back to the basics of what this country was built on. Government should be in place to keep its people civilized and to protect our unalienable rights. Over the years we got away from what should be a basic right of happiness and life to greed. Now we as Americans are living on credit to buy what we want not what we need. And the sad part is that many countries followed us in suit. What do you think? Do you believe that Americans still have the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?

Do you believe that Americans still have the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?

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    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 5 years ago from midwest

      @Lions Den Media I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for the Franklin quotes.

    • Lions Den Media profile image

      Lions Den Media 5 years ago

      Daskittlez69 - you make some great points. Our government has strayed do far off course that I barely recognize this country anymore. Certainly liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights that are eroding at such an accelerated pace that within 4 to 8 years the Constitution and our fundamental rights will have been essentially eliminated IF we continue on this path of government regulation, taxation, excessive spending, and government intervention in every facet of our lives.

      The concept of "limited" government seems to have been erased. I hope that people begin to understand that in order to gain more from government you must relinquish more to the government.

      Ben Franklin once said, after the signing of the Constitution, when a woman asked what they had created, Franklin replied - "A Republic, if you can keep it." But my favorite from Franklin is - 'A society willing to give up a little freedom for a little security, will deserve neither and lose both.' And that is where we stand today. Good Hub thanks.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      Thanks for stopping by and giving your opinion sen.sush23!

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 6 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Daskittelz, I read this Hub last night. And I was thinking. I have been planning to write a Hub on similar lines last few days. Being a procrastinator I haven't got it done yet. The question is not atypical of America, it is a question that over the last couple of years, particularly in 2011, we have seen people around the world asking themselves. America, stood as a symbol of freedom, not only to those who had tried to escape the clutches of a corrupt European culture and found a new land- but to the rest of the world- as history was re-written in the painful civil war where the questions of living at the cost of the labor of another people was debated with blood and sweat. In the 21st century, the people of this world still look upon America /Americans to speak out of the doubts or convictions - for themselves and the rest of the world, for monetarily and technological accessibility-wise (which is important), America is the First Country. Your last conclusive paragraph is the most important statement. But more importantly, the oftener people like you and me, raise this question the better. You do a service by writing this Hub. Voted up.

    • RavenBiker profile image

      RavenBiker 6 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA.


      There's a biker phylosophy: have a Harley, you have Harley friends. Have a Honda, you have Honda friends. Have both a Harley and a Honda, you have no friends.

      What do you identify yourself to be, that is important, not what other people think. I've been called a mindless liberal as well as a heartless conservative. I see myself and know myself as a Libertarian. And Libertarians have no friends outside of their own camp.

      Americans have a severe problem. Many never read AND studied the American Constitution. This is why, I believe, American don't know what it takes to maintain the responsibility of the words Life, Liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness---the spirit of the constitution written in the Declaration.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      Thanks for the comment Raven. I remember when I was growing up that Reagan was coonsidered a Dixiecrat theregore that is what I usually identified myself with. Usually thinking like a Republican but voting like a Democrat. After doing some research in college I found that the Dixiecrat's were identified as southern racist though. Therefore I am not really sure what most people would identify me as politically.

    • RavenBiker profile image

      RavenBiker 6 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA.

      daskittle, Good Hub and I'm in full agreement with you. I'm curious to know how you define yourself politically. This hub does not sound like the raves a Rebulican or Democrat Hubber would write.

      The problem is, I find, that Americans do not know how to define "life, libery and the pursuit of happiness" for themselves let alone for other people. I'm very surprised to see that most people believe "up to a point" in your informal survey. I believe your life, your liberty and your pursuit ends where my nose begins. Anyone can see that the political discourse in this country is all about "us" and "them" attitudes and the notion morality can be legislated.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      Thanks for the input Peter. You are exactly correct. The News stations nowadays is political propaganda, freedom of speech is gone.

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      DK, good solid HUB that is true. We all need ot look at what the hell is going on in this country and fix it. Get these bought and paid for bums out, vote for people for what they do, not what they say. Enolugh lip service we need action. FOX news is the National Enquirer of the airwaves, shut it off! Think for yourself and for your children, now is the time,Thanks,


    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      Thanks cooldad, I can't really argue with your points. We are definitely a lazy society.

    • cooldad profile image

      cooldad 6 years ago from Florida

      Great hub. Honestly, I think sometimes we have too much freedom and that has created a dangerous laziness within our society. There are times when people should be held more accountable for their actions in this life. But, lawyers, litigation, government and corporations have distorted the reality of true accountability.

      Unfortunately, too many Americans are content are content with reality television, celebrity and trying to become the next big star.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      Thanks for the comment Terri, your absolutely correct. It seems this country was very patriotic and fought for what they wanted as a whole until the second world war. And now, well you know.

    • Terri Meredith profile image

      Terri Meredith 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I think of my ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War and how they must be spinning in their graves! Then I look around me, and for all of us who take our time to write, to speak, to comment, to get involved in protecting what is steadily being chipped away, and I see thousands who shrug their shoulders in apathy. I hear so many people claim there is nothing to be done, that we can't "fight city hall." Are we really that weak and beaten down that with all our modern methods of communication and technology, we can't fight the fight our ancestors fought; they who had primitive methods of communication, of transportation, etc.? We can reach thousands with just the click of a button, whereas they had to rely on horseback transportation to hand carry just one piece of information to surrounding areas. Can you even imagine how difficult it was to organize themselves into a force with which to be reckoned? And here we are wringing our hands and feeling put upon. We can text comments for Twitter and Facebook, but we don't have time to even write a letter to our representatives? Sorry for the sermon. I'm done now. I'll be back for more. Rated up!

    • Wolfyone profile image

      Wolfyone 6 years ago from Central Maine

      It's scary actually how far we have strayed from what they intended. Every year we watch as our liberties are whittled away by government. I don't even want to think about where it will end.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      Thanks for the comment Wolfyone. All of the hard work, trials, tribulations, and the deaths of their friends to create this country and make it great. Yeah I do not believe they would be too happy either.

    • Wolfyone profile image

      Wolfyone 6 years ago from Central Maine

      I agree with you. I think if our forefathers could see what this country has become they would be spinning in their graves.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      Thanks for the comment tsadjatko

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 6 years ago from https:// online/ hubpages. html

      Oh, you mean what many judges these days like to refer to as a "living, breathing document," implying that its text is designed to be flexible. NOT!

      Well I'd say it certainly wasn't what the writers of the Declaration of Independence had in mind.

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      @ manthy thanks man

      @tsadjatko It is crazy isn't it. If we really want to get technical did you know that property tax is against the constitution?

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 6 years ago from https:// online/ hubpages. html

      Truth is, nothing is totally yours - take your home for example. Mortgage paid off? Just miss a few real estate tax payments and watch them take it away from you. It's the same with everything - if you aren't giving the government their cut, you will lose it. You have an uncle who goes to work with you, you split your pay check with him (Uncle Sam) up to 50/50 for some people including the state. It is immoral!

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Awesome hub man you get a up and awesome from me

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      Thanks stclairjack I could not agree with you more. Thanks for the input.

    • stclairjack profile image

      Stclairjack 6 years ago from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks

      i think the most of the problem lies in that the masses have no idea how to DEFINE the terms life liberty and persuit of happiness,... so how can you possibly achieve what you can no longer recognize due to the ever shifting vision and social deffinition as given to us by the magic 47" shrine in each of our homes.

      this was well done indeed. voted up and you have a new follower.


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