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Scholars have long debated the meaning of the pursuit of happiness, yet have tended to define it narrowly, focusing on a single intellectual tradition, and on the use of the term within a single text, the Declaration of Independence. In this insightful volume, Carli Conklin considers the pursuit of happiness across a variety of intellectual traditions, and explores its usage in two key legal texts of the Founding Era, the Declaration and William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.

For Blackstone, the pursuit of happiness was a science of jurisprudence, by which his students could know, and then rightly apply, the first principles of the Common Law. For the founders, the pursuit of happiness was the individual right to pursue a life lived in harmony with the law of nature and a public duty to govern in accordance with that law. Both applications suggest we consider anew how the phrase, and its underlying legal philosophies, were understood in the founding era. With this work, Conklin makes important contributions to the fields of early American intellectual and legal history.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-viii
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-2
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 3-10
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  1. Part I: The Pursuit of Happiness in Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England
  2. pp. 11-12
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  1. Chapter 1. Placement and Purpose: A New Science of Jurisprudence
  2. pp. 13-28
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  1. Chapter 2. An Enlightenment Epistemology: Anglican Theology and Scottish Common Sense Philosophy
  2. pp. 29-34
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  1. Chapter 3. Improvement and Perfection of the Common Law: History and Architecture
  2. pp. 35-48
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  1. Part II: The Pursuit of Happiness in the Declaration of Independence
  2. pp. 49-50
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  1. Chapter 4. Textual Context: Placement, Drafting, and Structure
  2. pp. 51-62
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  1. Chapter 5. “No New Ideas”: Four Strands of Founding Era Thought
  2. pp. 63-84
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  1. Chapter 6. Intermingling of the Four Strands
  2. pp. 85-94
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  1. Chapter 7. Convergence of the Four Strands: The Pursuit of Happiness
  2. pp. 95-100
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  1. Part III: The Pursuit of Happiness: A Private Right and a Public Duty
  2. pp. 101-102
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  1. Chapter 8. A Single Definition with Dual Applications
  2. pp. 103-112
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  1. Chapter 9. Improvement and Perfection from the Commentaries Forward
  2. pp. 113-130
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 131-134
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  1. Appendix I. Historiography of William Blackstone and the Commentaries
  2. pp. 135-142
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  1. Appendix II. Historiography of the Pursuit of Happiness in the Declaration of Independence
  2. pp. 143-154
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  1. Appendix III. Blackstone’s Commentaries, Introduction, Section the Second, Of the Nature of Laws in General, pp. 38–44
  2. pp. 155-162
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  1. Appendix V. The Declaration of Independence with Edits by the Continental Congress Marked, as Reconstructed by Carl Becker
  2. pp. 175-186
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  1. Appendix VI. The Declaration of Independence, a Transcript from the National Archives
  2. pp. 187-192
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 193-220
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 221-230
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 231-241
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780826274274
Related ISBN
9780826221858
MARC Record
OCLC
1057244554
Pages
255
Launched on MUSE
2019-02-24
Language
English
Open Access
No
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