The Bill of Rights & the Pursuit of Happiness

A couple of misconceptions need to be cleared up regarding our founding documents.

The first is that the Bill of Rights actually created new rights for the citizens of the United States. But if you read carefully, each of the ten constitutional amendments comprising the Bill of Rights merely acknowledges an existing right and then restricts the government from interfering with the exercise of that right.

A misconception about the Declaration of Independence is that the Apursuit of happiness" meant the right to do whatever makes a person happy. But the Founders knew that the same Creator who endowed us with the inalienable right to pursue happiness also laid the ground rules for its attainment. So happiness, as the Founders used the term, was necessarily tied to moral decisions.

These and other ideas about the foundations of governing can be found in our primer titled Governing by Principle. For more information, go to mspolicy.org, or call us at 601-969-1300. That’s mspolicy.org or 601-969-1300.