As discussed in the Two Treatises of Government, English Philosopher John Locke (1634-1704) outlined that when one creates a government or socially agrees for a select government, then respectively, one gives up some of their rights (JOHN LOCKE). For instance, if an individual agrees that they are a part of a government, then that individual may give up their right to take someone else's property. However, Thomas Jefferson proposed that there were laws that were inalienable. In the Declaration of Independence he noted that among those inalienable rights are “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Jefferson believed in declaring independence for all of humanity that he aimed to free the thirteen colonies from Great Britain. During the late 1700's, congress appointed him, as well as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and George III to write the declaration -- Jefferson was given the honor to draft the first document. Ironically, Jefferson at the time owned roughly two hundred slaves and continued voicing: “all men had the right to liberty.” This compels one to ask: can these inalienable rights be modernized? While I agree with Thomas Jefferson that the human race is entitled to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” I might argue that these inalienable rights do exist, however, they carry a different meaning today. A close comparison of his ideology reveals that the actions of the United States in this day and age defies some of Jefferson’s propositions, yet there are some similarities that should also be taken into account.
Although almost two-hundred and forty years apart in age, both Jefferson’s and the US’s view display a remarkable similarity in their beliefs. Each have taken up the concept that if an individual commits murder than an execution will be called to practice. Absurdly, the reason for Jefferson asserting that humans have the “right to life” was to emphasize that humans should not be deprived of their life. Regardless of those words, Capital punishment continues to be sanctioned and practiced amidst numerous states throughout the US at the moment. Indeed, there are terrible crimes people commit and they should be constrained, so that they do not kill again. The difference, Sister Helen Prejean argues, between the claims that human life be deprived is undebated:
There are some human rights that are so deep that we can't negotiate them away...The...Declaration of Human Rights in the United Nations says...there are two basic rights that can't be negotiated...And it's the right not to be tortured and not to be killed. Because when you say OK…we will…take their life. It involves other people in doing essentially the same kind of act. (Prejean, Date)
Prejean points out that the...