Pursue your happiness anywhere

My opinion on the right of Expatriation has been, so long ago as the year 1776, consigned to record in the act of the Virginia code, drawn by myself, recognizing the right expressly, and prescribing the mode of exercising it. The evidence of this natural right, like that of our right to life, liberty, the use of our faculties, the pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble and sophistical investigations of reason, but is impressed on the sense of every man. We do not claim these under the charters of kings or legislators, but under the King of kings. If he has made it a law in the nature of man to pursue his own happiness, he has left him free in the choice of place as well as mode; and we may safely call on the whole body of English jurists to produce the map on which Nature has traced, for each individual, the geographical line which she forbids him to cross in pursuit of happiness. It certainly does not exist in his mind. Where then is it? I believe too I might safely affirm that there is not another nation civilized or savage which has ever denied this natural right. I doubt if there is another which refuses its exercise. I know it is allowed in some of the most respectable countries of continental Europe, nor have I ever heard of one in which it was not. How it is among our savage neighbors who have no law but that of Nature we all know.

Thomas Jefferson to Dr. John Manners, 12 June 1817

“The self-sovereign unum”

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How can you keep on moving?

Imagine an economy where the unemployment rate is low generally, but where a large number of the job openings restrict what kind of people can apply—No Catholics, or No Blondes, or No Homosexuals. As a consequence, the unemployment rate is … Continue reading

What makes a neighborhood

Lawrence Katz, from the Harvard economics department, was here yesterday to give the Institute for Research on Poverty’s annual Lampman lecture. Katz’s talk, “Neighbohoods vs. Schools,” wasn’t what I’d guessed it’d be about,1 but still posed an interesting question about … Continue reading

Build a better beef

Just now there is a tidal stream of commercial life which sweeps itself into all the energy and talent of the United States—only here and there is it resisted by men of peculiar temperament and peculiar genius. The state of … Continue reading