What did Jefferson claim people had the right to do if their government was not fulfilling its purpose, but instead oppressing the people?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Jefferson had very definite beliefs about what people should do when the government oppresses the people.  Jefferson believed the people had the right or obligation to remove a government if that government was not protecting the rights of the people.  This can be seen in the Declaration of Independence.  Jefferson believed all men had rights which couldn't be taken away from them.  These rights included the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  They are called the unalienable rights.  It is the government's job to protect the rights of the people.  When government fails to protect the rights of the people, Jefferson believed it was the duty of the people to change the government.    In addition, Jefferson believed the people must tell the world all of the reasons why they are removing the government.  Jefferson strongly believed the people must act when government became oppressive.

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