The Pursuit Of Happiness Essay

Only a couple of clauses down the Declaration affirms that when a government no longer secures the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the people have the right to “institute new government” on such principles and in such form “as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” The Declaration here refers to government forms and principles that establish or result in safety and happiness, not the conditions that allow people to seek after happiness.This later use of “happiness” complicates the notion that the earlier reference to the “pursuit of happiness” means only the right to chase after happiness. In a 1964 article in the , titled “The Lost Meaning of ‘The Pursuit of Happiness,’” historian Arthur M.

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The Declaration of Independence famously affirms inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As I discussed last week, the heavy lifting of the adjective “unalienable” means that people cannot give or otherwise transfer these rights away.

And, to be sure, the right to acquire the material conditions for life is an implication of this commitment. Before considering “happiness” proper, we need to look at the “pursuit” part of the phrase.

Commentators often remark that the Declaration does not guarantee the right to obtain happiness, only the right to pursue what makes one happy.

The right answer seems to be realizing what is truly important in life, yet how does the movie end the pursuit of happiness?

Happiness is achieved when Chris Gardner lands a six-figure commissioned salary brokerage job.I see individuals everyday who are walking that tightrope or worse, who have fallen off already and just barely managed to grab on to the tightrope and are now moving hand over hand across the chasm of poverty. This struggle and display of the human spirit is uplifting in classic underdog fashion.Over 90% of the people filing bankruptcy in this country have had one or a combination of these three things happen to them:1. Yet, when Chris gets to the top, he has learned nothing by his near escape from disaster.Inalienability is a restriction on rights’ holders.This immediately changes implications of the terms.Schlesinger argues that “pursuit” should be understood when used in referring to, say, “the pursuit of law” or “the pursuit of medicine.” That is, pursuit refers to practice or vocation.This reading has the virtue of being more consistent with the Declaration’s later invocation of “safety and happiness.” As Schlesinger points out, understanding “pursuit” in this way gives a different cast to the phrase.To wit, today Americans often think of liberty as “autonomy.” Indeed, in the Supreme Court notably defines the Fourteenth Amendment liberty guarantee as a protection of individual autonomy.According to the Declaration, however, inalienable rights to life and the pursuit of happiness exist in tandem with liberty.Something is wrong when Pay Day Loan stores are more prevalent than churches. The seeds of rebellion are sown in economic disparity and unequal treatment.When did you last read the Declaration of Independence? The only happiness that comes from the single-eyed pursuit of wealth is one that is misspelled and misplaced.


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