Jefferson on Epicurus

Thomas Jefferson took his political writings from John Locke.  Locke said that we have natural rights to life, liberty, and property.  Well Jefferson liked that but he changed it to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Where did he get this “pursuit of happiness” from?  He got it from Epicurus.  Indeed, Epicurus has influenced Jefferson so much that you can see the influence in Jefferson’s other writings like documents and letters.  Jefferson has also said that if the world reads Epicurus, the world would be in a much better place.

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
This entry was posted in Epicurus, Jefferson, Locke, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Jefferson on Epicurus

  1. Killer J says:

    I read the article, and I liked this thought:

    “When we exist death is not, and when death exists we are not. All sensation and consciousness ends with death and therefore in death there is neither pleasure nor pain. The fear of death arises from the false belief that in death there is awareness.”

    I’ve always been afraid (not overwhelmingly, mind you) of death. I never thought too much about why, but I think Epicurus is right. I have the false belief that there is awareness in death. Hell, awareness is all I know of the world so it is challenging to think of a state in which I was unaware.

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