Consent of the Governed
Unalienable Rights

By: Makayla Mullins

Statue of Liberty


Unalienable rights: Rights that are given to you by you divine creator, and cannot be taken away.

Government by Consent: A condition urged by many as a requirement for legitimate government  that the authority of a government should depend on the consent of the people, as expressed by votes in elections.

Why does a just government need consent of the governed?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed..."

Declaration of Independence, United States of America, 1776

The most fundamental concept of democracy is the idea that government exists to secure the rights of the people and must be based on the consent of the governed. Today, the quote above from the U.S. Declaration of Independence is considered an indisputable maxim of the ideal form of government.

How was that different from what England was already doing?

Well with the consent of the governed the it is the people who give the leader the power to rule. What England was doing was claiming that it was "Divine Right" That King George ruled. And the people weren't so much "citizens" as they were "subjects". Really with the whole "Divine Right" card that the monarchs played the people never consented to be governed, but owed their total obedience and loyalty to the ruler, often on pain of death. Not to mention with the fact that the King was all powerful, and anything he says goes, where as with consent of the governed it would have to be decided on by everyone. i.e. vote.

Who is responsible for protecting or guaranteeing our unalienable rights?

Well really it's up to you to protect your rights. There isn't anyone whose job it is to make sure you get everything your rights entitle you to. This said it is also up to you to know when your rights are, or are attempting being taken away. And it's also up to you to fight for your rights, otherwise you are basically forefiting them.

Are the principles of unalienable rights and government by consent in the Declaration outdated, or are they still true today?

I say they somewhat are. From what the public can see the government is still trying to allow us our rights, and take our consent bye voting in such, but you never know if there is more going on behind the scene. Although the right t rebel isn't really taken seriously. As we all know Texas tried to become it's own country; The Republic of Texas, but didn't get to 'cause the government obviously doesn't get that one. What else is new.

Do these principles matter to you? If so, how and why?

Seriously? Of course they do! This my entitlement to life, to liberty, to happiness, to have my voice heard for crying out loud! These things matter to me because they affect me. They affect how I am. I mean I really bank on the whole freedom of speech. I love to push the limits for change. And my rights tell me I can. They tell me I  have choices and, can decide on them myself.