|James Kilbourne wrote: "The Declaration has two fathers: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams."|
I would like to add to this the name of George Mason, principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was adopted mere days before Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the first two sections of which were heavily influential in Jefferson's writing of the DOI. Here are Mason's words:
"Section 1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Section 2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them."
Three cheers for George Mason!
Best to all,