Life, Liberty, and…

Life, Liberty, and Worksheet

Worksheet Description

This worksheet presents a brief educational text about the philosophical influences on the Declaration of Independence, focusing on the transition from John Locke’s original phrase “life, liberty, and estate (property)” to the final wording “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It outlines Locke’s contribution to the foundational concepts of natural rights and refers to Thomas Jefferson’s drafting of the Declaration, highlighting the change made in its language. The text prompts students to consider why the drafters of the Declaration opted to modify Locke’s phrase, asking them to reflect on the significance of this change.

The worksheet aims to teach students about the historical and philosophical context of the American Declaration of Independence, encouraging them to engage with the idea of natural rights as envisioned by Enlightenment thinkers. It seeks to develop critical thinking by asking students to contemplate the reasons behind altering Locke’s original terms to those now found in the Declaration. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for students to connect philosophical concepts with the practical considerations of nation-building and the articulation of American values.