Recently during my social studies class, I had to memorize the beginning of the Declaration of Independence for a test. The journal assignment for this week is connected to my test. The last sentence of the introduction is very famous and goes like this, “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.” I have to explain what these words mean to me.

Being an American citizen, these words are very powerful. When Thomas Jefferson was writing the Declaration of Independence, he was trying to express the rights that every human being should have and rights that no government can interfere with. I am grateful for these rights because they make me feel free. As a Jew, these words are also very important because God created laws for us to follow. God did this because he cares and loves us no matter how many bad things we have done.

I mentioned this in the paragraph before, but I will say it again. Thomas Jefferson was saying that these rights apply to every single human being. This counts people who are not American, men, women, children, and many other types of people. Everybody should be treated equally, no matter who they are. I believe that these rights have limitations that come with them. One limitation would be if your pursuit of happiness violates the law, then you are not allowed to do that. Also, if your pursuit of happiness gets in the way of another person’s pursuit of happiness, then that is not allowed. With liberty, people interpret that word in different ways. For example, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, owned slaves and so did some of the other Founding Fathers. But I think that besides these limitations, everybody is still free.

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