Thomas Jefferson

“A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Jefferson is perhaps one of the more famous founding fathers because he was one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence where the colonists declared their independence from Britain.  In the many grievances against King George, Jefferson wrote, “A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people” (666).  Because the colonists believed that the British crown had unfairly used their power to over-tax, over-govern, and over-step their rights, the colonists wrote that these acts had made the ruling power a tyrant that must be extinguished.  It also declared to the world that the colonies were now a free land ruled by its people with freedoms and liberties for all citizens.  It is in this document that the natural laws that Phyllis Wheatley wrote about were also used.  The natural laws suggested every person was free to live as they wished.  It may be where Jefferson’s “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” that the term “unalienable rights” defined  (665).  By arguing a case that they had not experienced any ability to live freely under the rule of King George, they laid a case for war with the justifications to gain them.  But, they also defined the image of the new America they wished to be by stating everything they felt had been taken from them as British subjects.  So, by declaring the freedom from not only British rule, they also formed a government everything that the British monarchy was not.  The quote also symbolized a new nation with new ideologies was born because of it.  The founding fathers’ bravery and wisdom are apparent in the words chosen.  As out textbook notes, they were willing to give their lives for their liberty which still endures in the American spirit today (666).  The Declaration of Independence continues to be the greatest testimony to the American Dream and Identity to exist because it was written by men who had lost their freedoms and dared to get them back for all citizens.

Works Cited

Jefferson, Thomas.  The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Volume A. 8th ed. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012. 666. Print.


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