How did "Jefferson's draft" become the work "not of one man but of many?" chap. 3

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that if there is a textbook or some type of external force that guides your class, focusing on the answer this gives might be a good start.  In my mind, I would say that Jefferson's work represents the idea of many because, essentially, what was put forth was not entirely his.  Jefferson appropriated a political tradition that articulated the needs of the colonists in a masterful stroke.  For example, the famous line of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," is borrowed from English political theorist John Locke's "life, liberty, and the pursuit of property."  Additionally, Locke helped to inspire the Jeffersonian inclusion of "inalienable rights," with his idea of natural rights.  Much of the Enlightenment thinkers' thought were featured in the document.  The idea of freedom being something inevitable ("When in the course of human events...") is a belief that thinkers such as Voltaire advocated, that freedom is the natural state for all human beings.  Additionally, Jefferson appropriated much of the Enlightenment thinkers' language regarding despotic rule and rule by one person, as opposed to a democratic order.

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