American Citizens’ Unalienable Rights
Copyright Will Ghormley 20012

In the Declaration of Independence, our nation’s founders proclaimed a new form of governance based on, and to insure, the unalienable rights of the citizens.

“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—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

An unalienable right is a right possessed by every person by virtue of being, and is above the abridgment or revocation by any one or government. To transgress unalienable rights is the soul of lawlessness and the root of evil. Unalienable rights are the basis for all natural rights and what is considered “right”. The Creator gives these rights to individuals at their creation, and only the lawless abridge them.

When the founders said these truths were self-evident, what they meant was, this is a no-brainer. It is so obvious there can be no credible argument against it. To secure these no-brainer rights, governments are formed. Note here the founders said governments were formed to secure these rights for their citizens. Governments do not have the authority or power to grant these rights or to take them away. Unalienable rights belong to all people just by being. But, the United States was formed to protect these unalienable rights for their citizens, not to regulate them.

Among these unalienable rights, (but not restricted to the ones listed), are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The rights to life and liberty are probably universally understood outside of Washington D.C., but the concept of the unalienable right to happiness may take some explanation for the 21 Century patriot, (since it isn’t taught in school).

The pursuit of happiness was, and is, understood to mean so much more than just the freedom to work towards opportunity. It means the right to self-determination, the right to one’s self, autonomy, the right to protect our well-being and peace-of-mind, the right to possess what is earned or purchased with earnings, the right to own property and real-estate, the right to the product of one’s labors. Our constitution guarantees us the unfettered right to our own industry. The fact our government no longer constrains itself to our Constitutional rights has no bearing on the fact God gave it to us and the Constitution guarantees it. Our government has simply grown to be unrestrained by our Constitutional Rule of Law - in a word, lawless.

The phrase, “the Pursuit of Happiness” was used instead of the original wording, “the Pursuit of Property” for several reasons. First, many among the founders objected to slavery, but realized southern states were needed to pull-off the Revolution. So, rather than leave any excuse for owning people as “property”, the term “happiness” was used instead, (this term applied to slaves’ happiness as well!). This left Constitutional room for the eventual rejection of slavery. Also, the use of “happiness” not only guarantees us our right to the earned industry of our labors, but also self-determination and the protection of our well-being and peace-of-mind. Our unalienable rights extend to our autonomy, well-being and peace-of-mind, and the means to secure these rights.

The Declaration of Independence prescribes our government as one constructed to “secure” the unalienable rights of the citizenry. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, knows as our Bill of Rights, specifically spell out personal protections from, and limitations on, the government. The Tenth Amendment sums it up with, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” In other words, our government exists to insure our unalienable rights.