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The Right To Die In Accordance With The Ideals Of Thomas Jefferson

1247 words - 5 pages

Thomas Jefferson is most commonly known for becoming the third President of the United States. He argued forcefully for liberty, protection of inalienable rights, and strict adherence to the Constitution. Jefferson's central ideal was that government has only delegated powers, not inherent or intrinsic authority. Today it seems Americans have more rights than ever before and with this new freedom, there are those that want these rights extended to controlling death. The issue concerning the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is one Americans face today. Physician-assisted suicide should not be legalized because it violates Jefferson's principles: strict observance to the Constitution and maintaining a high level of morals within society.Many argue that because men are entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" they are also entitled to "a right to die." Jefferson stated, "On every question of construction, [let us] carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed" (Bendini 32). The Constitution does not define anyone a "right to die" but it does establish a "right to live." Man was given the right to live when born and only has the "right to die" in the circumstance that death will come by natural causes (Battin, Rhodes, Silvers 166-168). Dying is not a freedom of choice because all will eventually die. A right is a privilege, something that must be earned. Death does not need to be earned; it is simply given. When our Constitution was first established, it was assumed that the description of specific powers granted to the government would leave no doubt as to what the government could and could not do, and that the absence of powers over the rights of the people would leave those rights protected. The argument that there is a natural right to die is a stretch from interpretation of rights and currently has no basis in the U.S. Constitution.Physician-assisted suicide strays further from the Constitution in that its legalization may also lead to the extension of human rights in the areas of abortion and euthanasia. This right could be a gateway; extending to terminating the lives of people who do not suffer from terminal illnesses like the elderly, deformed infants, and those who suffer from mental illnesses (Leone 79-93). "To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition" (Thomas Jefferson 1791). Allowing the practice of physician-assisted suicide would create a domino affect into the creation of human rights which are not defined in the Constitution.Jefferson's belief on morals is that every man "was endowed with a sense of right and wrong." (Thomas Jefferson 1781). Authorizing...

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