Do people of today have any additional unalienable rights?Jefferson talks in the "Declaration of Independence" of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. He regards these rights as...

Do people of today have any additional unalienable rights?

Jefferson talks in the "Declaration of Independence" of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. He regards these rights as unalienable rights.

You must give three reasons to support your opinion, and each reason must be supported by at least two supporting facts, examples, statistics, or details.

Expert Answers
dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

(I edited your topic to read 'unalienable' instead of 'inalienable', the former being correct according to the document.) Because Jefferson was deliberate in his use of language and although several parts of Jefferson's original document were edited by Ben Franklin and John Adams, the intent was clear by all parties involved in the following passage:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

The answer to your question lies in the phrase...THAT AMONG THESE ARE... by doing so Jefferson confirms three specific 'unalienable rights'. However, by using the words 'among them' Jefferson infers that the three he specifically cites might be expanded upon. Moreover, historically these 'unalienable' rights have required clarification of their meaning over the years. For example, the idea of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness persevered through the ratification of the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act 1964, and the Voting Rights Act 1965 but not without a great deal of bloodshed and tears.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think that the term unalienable rights is a little vague. They are not just limited to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but those seem broad enough to include most rights. After all, the pursuit of happiness can be almost anything, and different things to different people.
krishna-agrawala | Student

There are no clear definition of inalienable rights of individual. These rights are considered to be rights that every individual has just by the virtue of being born. It is as if these rights are endowed upon individuals by God, along with life. However, there is no physical act of granting these powers to the individual. Reality, is that individuals or specific classes of people in the society claim to have god given rights to further their own well being and their mission in life. Thus kings, for thousands of years, have claimed to derive their rights from the divine. Similarly, privileged classes in the society have justified their privileges on the basis of rights by birth rather than by efforts and ability of individuals.

Thus the concept of what are inalienable rights of individuals are determined on the basis of what is accepted by the society. These norm of individual freedoms or rights may be determined in different societies differently. Also within the same social group these norms change from time to time. Take, for example, the individual freedom or right to carry firearms incorporated in the American constitution. This kind of right is unique to USA. Very few other countries have a individual right comparable to this right in the USA. Also within USA it is now being debated if it is really necessary or even desirable to have such a right as fundamental, inalienable right of every individual, and increasingly greater restrictions are being put on this right.