The expression, "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" is found in the assertion of Independence which says "we hold these truths to be undeniable, that all men are made equivalent, that they are blessed by their inventor with certain questionable Rights that around these are Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness and Life." (Thomas, 2005) These words are not only very powerful words but also help in the establishment of any platform upon which all democratic societies can be built; not only that of the United States.
In these Rights then comes a feature of responsibility. We should ask ourselves what we are responsible for in respect to these three Rights. We are already alive and so to get a life we must live and live to the fullest for that matter.
Liberty is the freedom to be able to choose independently. This means that you will be responsible for whatever result that comes from the choices you made. Not everybody is able to make correct, appropriate and responsible decisions and hence there exist limitations in the form of laws and rules. If your choice interferes with others’ liberty then you should choose careful as you would want them to do the same for you (Thomas, 2005).
Pursuit of happiness: Everybody wants to be happy and everybody is responsible for their happiness. Therefore, you should go and look for your happiness, chase after it, pursue it the same way people pursue mate. However, to find happiness it is necessary to be at your best behavior, show your best character, create time for happiness and also make room for happiness in your life (Thomas, 2005).
I do not therefore intend to downgrade the essential value and practical significance the phrase “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” by suggesting that they should be changed. I however propose that true freedom in a democracy can only be realized when there is an inclusion of Responsibility in the Rights otherwise the Rights remain unreliable.
Thomas Jefferson, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, 2005, The Rosen Publishing Group.