Thomas Jefferson the Plagiarist

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The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, is one of the most popular documents in the world. Although Jefferson is one of the United States’ founding fathers and is one of the biggest reasons that the United States is the way it is today, he did not want to be remembered for his presidency but for what he accomplished, such as writing the Declaration of Independence and founding the University of Virginia . Except, Jefferson has been accused from plagiarizing multiple parts of the Declaration of Independence.

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It is said that Jefferson has taken direct quotes from other writers’ works without giving them any credit for the information that he used. One can tell after reading different journals, newspaper articles, and important documents that Jefferson plagiarized the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson plagiarized multiple ideas from John Locke. John Locke was an English philosopher that wrote the Second Treatise of Government. Locke wrote the Second Treatise of Government for similar reasons that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Locke believed that God made all people naturally subject to a monarch. Locke wanted all people to equal.

Although this was a popular opinion around, Jefferson decided to take almost word from word from the Second Treatise of Government. Locke says that everyone has a right to life, liberty, and property, whilst Jefferson writes about how all men are equal, that they are endowed by their greater with certain unalienable rights. This means life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The only bit of information that was changed in these two sentences is the pursuit of happiness . Jefferson’s words only differed from Locke’s because he thought owning property was not the only thing that could make people happy. Jefferson was accused by Richard Henry Lee that he plagiarized Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. Jefferson considered the part that he copied from Locke’s document to be the best part of the Declaration of Independence. He said that The object of the Declaration of Independence was not to find out new principles neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment.

Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence to be an expression of the American mind. Although Jefferson did say he wanted to take opinions and thoughts from all around, he never gave credit to the people that he took the ideas from. It is clearly shown that these words were Locke’s and not Jefferson’s because Locke’s Second Treatise of Government was written in 1690, 86 years prior . The Declaration of Independence states that we have unalienable rights. These rights were also stolen from an Enlightenment philosopher named Francis Hutcheson. Francis Hutcheson’s idea of rights to our life challenge the ideas of Locke. Hutcheson is the one who says that our rights are natural, unalienable,

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