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Race, Religion, and the Pursuit of Happiness

  • James H. EvansJr.
Chapter
  • 79 Downloads
Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)

Abstract

The Declaration of Independence guarantees that all persons under its purview are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. It does not promise that this happiness will necessarily be achieved, but that to pursue it is an inalienable right. This promise is funded by the “social contract” that exists among free and equal persons. This contract does not define happiness per se, but its application to collective life in the United States suggests that there are three major trajectories to happiness. Ironically, these same trajectories had to be framed in a manner that excluded people of African and Native American descent as participants in the national conversation, while demanding that they submit to the authority of that contract. Life and liberty are construed as foundational to the pursuit of happiness for free and equal persons.

Keywords

Social Contract Presidential Election Black People National Conversation Black Folk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. Allen, Anita L. and Thaddeus Pope. 2006. “Social Contract Theory, Slavery, and the Antebellum Courts.” In A Companion to African American Philosophy, edited by Tommy L. Lott and John P. Pittman, 125–133. Maiden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Hobbes, Thomas. 1651. Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiastical and Civill. Available at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm.Google Scholar
  3. Locke, John. 1689. A Letter Concerning Toleration. Available at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/LocTole.html.
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  5. Tippett, Krista. 2010. “Summit on Happiness.” From the NPR show On Being. Available at http://cslr.law.emory.edu/news/news-story/headline/krista-tippett-on-being-radio-airs-happiness-summit/.

Copyright information

© Ada María Isasi-Díaz, Mary McClintock Fulkerson, and Rosemary P. Carbine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. EvansJr.

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