When Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, set out to enunciate the philosophical principles underlying the American Revolution—the principles of ’76, as later generations would call them—that’s the one he put down first, as the foundation and justification of all the rest. Equality—not, as one might expect, liberty.
The original draft of the Declaration highlights the importance of equality still more clearly. The final and better-known version states:
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.
But what Jefferson originally wrote was this:
We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable: that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As far as I can tell, the wording was changed for stylistic reasons rather than substantive ones. The final draft does flow more smoothly. But the original draft is more philosophically precise.
quinta-feira, maio 30, 2013
Equality: The Unknown Ideal por Roderick Long: