Calvin Coolidge 1 The Declaration of Independence is the product of the spiritual insight of the people.
Wikimedia Commons The literature on Jefferson is truly enormous. One need only consult the Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography prepared by Frank Shuffelton, comprising several thousand citations, to get a sense of how extensive it is. Indeed, the Library of Congress notes that its Jefferson collection is so large that it is divided into no less than categories.
Among the most recent studies of this side of Jefferson is that by Luigi Marco Bassani, professor of political theory at the University of Milan.
Liberty, State, and Union is a truly impressive volume. In taking up this task, Bassani confronts some 70 years of scholarship that has attempted to sever the connection between Jefferson and Lockean natural rights.
A typical instance of this interpretation is that of Charles M.
This Progressivist interpretation clashed head on with the then prevailing view of Jefferson as a classical liberal. Some historians continue to view Jefferson as a Lockean liberal who distrusted government and subscribed to the strictest limits on the actions of the civil magistrate; others regard him as an agrarian with socialist leanings who only adhered to the principles of private property so far as they served certain political ends.
Perhaps the most egregious examples of invoking Jefferson for purely transient political purposes are the inscriptions on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D. Planned and built during the administration of Franklin D.
And his caution that man, as he advances in his understanding of the world, must accompany his greater enlightenment with changes in his social institutions becomes a justification for a new theory of government in keeping with the social-democratic principles that animated the New Deal.
At no point did Jefferson ever defend the redistribution of property. Certainly his support for the confiscation of the estates held by Tories can hardly be considered an example of this, and he explicitly reaffirmed the unassailability of property rights in his Second Inaugural.
This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities. They point to his purchase of Louisiana as a clear example of his exceeding the powers of the presidency stipulated in the Constitution. This judgment, however, strikes me as somewhat too severe given the context of the time.
After all, Jefferson was by no means alone among the principal members of the Democratic-Republican Party in supporting the purchase.
Every man has the right to live, to act freely, and to create, keep, trade, and use property. In the “state of nature,” which exists where no political societies are established, these rights may . A general agreement on the core principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—equal rights grounded in a permanent human nature, constitutionalism and the rule of law, republican self government—long formed the underlying consensus of the American political tradition, but is today in doubt. During time of the Declaration of Independence, it was an emotional document and the Constitution was a well thought out document, and the thirteen colonies were formed. It occurred to me that the Declaration of Independence was a conservative document in the 17 century.
The Democratic-Republicans had overwhelming control of both the House and the Senate when the purchase was approved, the vote in the Senate being 24 to seven.
Even the House, whose members had far greater reservations, ended up supporting the treaty, albeit by the narrow vote of 59 to The result was that Burr was acquitted.
Indeed, he contemplated using his authority to encourage passage of a constitutional amendment severely constraining the power of the judiciary. It is beyond dispute that Jefferson embraced the conclusions about the nature and functions of government put forward by John Locke a century earlier.
All men are born with certain inalienable rights that precede the establishment of civil society and that are ours by virtue of our humanity and are not as a gift of the civil magistrate.
The sole function of government is to secure these rights—to insure that we are each permitted to act as we choose, limited only by our not trespassing on the rights of others. Again following Locke, Jefferson argues that once government violates our rights we are at liberty to take any actions we deem appropriate to put a halt to these violations, including the overthrow and replacement of the civil authority.
Bassani clearly shows that, not only is there no textual warrant for this conclusion but, on the contrary, on many occasions Jefferson made clear that he regarded private property as sacrosanct. Ronald Hamowy is professor emeritus of intellectual history at the University of Alberta.
The American Conservative needs your support to make articles like this possible.Is there a political philosophy in the Declaration of Independence? One step toward answering this question—not the only step, but from the philosopher’s point of view the most fundamental—is to ask whether the “self-evident truths” of the Declaration are really true after all.
POLICY DECLARATION l 3 United Conservative Party’s first Policy Declaration reinstate parental opt-in consent for any subjects of a religious or sexual nature, including enrollment in extracurricular activities/clubs or distribution of any.
A general agreement on the core principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—equal rights grounded in a permanent human nature, constitutionalism and the rule of law, republican self government—long formed the underlying consensus of the American political tradition, but is today in doubt.
The Vimy Declaration for Conservation of Historic Battlefield Terrain was drafted by participants at the First International Workshop on Conservation of Battlefield Terrain, held in Arras, France, on March , at the invitation of Veterans Affairs Canada.
These grievances were, to repeat, the very reason the Declaration was written and promulgated—to justify the severing of the political bands with Britain—and it was with good reason that the pamphleteers, John Lind in his An Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress and Thomas Hutchinson in his Strictures upon the Declaration of the Congress at Philadelphia, made these grievances the focal .
There is God, a higher power or Nature’s God, who grants us the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And whatever government is formed around this works for the people.