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Video transcript

we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by the creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness it's this amazing second sentence of the Declaration of Independence that Jefferson and Adams and Franklin wrote as part of a committee and we were looking at that sentence let's go on to look at that phrase they are endowed by their creator it's interesting they don't really mention you know Jesus Christ and not even God they talk about the laws of nature and of nature's God and of creator these were deists people kind of believed in the notion that there's some grand creator of the universe but they don't get into the specifics of any particular religious dogma the other thing is they're balancing where do our rights come from in an earlier draft and we'll talk about how they edit the early address in a later video but in an earlier draft they just it just says they're endowed with certain inalienable rights and you see that John Adams probably is the one who wants to insert the phrase their creator and that was because they started the sentence with we hold these truths to be sacred but they change that to self-evident they're trying to say to what extent is it rationality that gives us these right to what extent are these rights endowed by God and I think what they finally come down to is that we all had a creator and those creator that creator made us all and so to a certain sink were created equal our Creator must love us all we are all created by the same creator therefore there's a certain equality that we have and in creating us he gave us certain unalienable rights and unalienable this means can't be taken away it's can you elaborate it you can't it can't be separated you can't take these rights away the king can't take these rights away in other words it's not as if we could give up these rights and in particular they are talking about this theory of government that John Locke had who is one of the philosophers that they read an English philosopher of that period who said that when you create a government or there is a government you give up some of your rights for example if we all agree that we're part of a government we may give up our right say to you know us take somebody else's property or whatever it may be so these are right you can give up but there are certain rights that are unalienable that you just can't give up or the king can't take it away once again you got to look at Thomas Jefferson who actually owned slaves at this point and he's saying among those unalienable rights are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness so there's this inherent conflict still between rights such as Liberty that you can't take away from a person and yet Jefferson's writing this phrase when he owned slaves the phrase life liberty and the pursuit of happiness is also something that derives from John Locke and these philosophers of the Enlightenment that were writing in England at one point John Locke uses the phrase life liberty and the pursuit of property because you know Locke believed that owning property was an important right you had and the government couldn't just take your property away however you can see that they change it to a more sort of elevated phrase that we each get to pursue our own notion of what we want to do in our lives happiness I don't think they just mean happiness like joy and frivolity I think they mean pursuit of meaning in life what gives our life meaning and these are the unalienable rights then they go on and this gets to what's called the contract notion of government is that why do we have governments and whether it's John Locke or the other philosophers we've talked about they say the reason we have government is that we all had these rights but we decided to get together we Institute it governments governments are instituted on that the reason those governments have their power is because of the consent of the governed it's like if you and I and 20 people got together and formed a group and we said we're going to form a group we'll give up some of our rights because the group itself will have certain powers but we're consenting to do that it's not because of the Divine Right of Kings it's a consent of governor of the governed the consent of the people says we will institute a government amongst ourselves and that's not to take away our rights that's to secure our rights right we I might the 20 of us might give up our right to to kind of enforce things they police each other to the government so that we could have our life liberty and pursuit of happiness we're more likely to have it secured and once you get to that theory you have to say what are the type of rights we would give up such as maybe the right to decide the traffic laws of the policing of the thing or how property contracts are made but there are certain things that no matter what you did if you were instituting a government among man you would not give up the right to life you would not give up the right to liberty and you would not say I'm going to give up my right to be to pursue my own life ends my own happiness you would say we want to secure those rights we're not going to give those up to government I say