In this thesis, I examine the different iterations of the “pursuit of happiness” in the 96 Supreme Court cases in which the phrase is applied. Drawing from Kenneth Burke, I argue that the “pursuit of happiness” is defined with three general terminsitic screens that form the basis for interpreting the phrase in American constitutional rights and politics: (1) Natural Rights, (2) Constitutional Rights, and (3) Legal Rights. I propose that studying the “pursuit of happiness” in these decisions provides insight as to how the Court has used the phrase rhetorically to advance ideographic, persuasive, administrative, legal, and material interests in a given case. This project asserts that the “pursuit of happiness” is a rhetorically negotiated and contingent idea which has ideological implications for interpreting it one way or another. Because of the pervasiveness of the “pursuit of happiness” within American culture, I argue that it is important to understand the different ways the phrase functions.
|Advisor:||Johnson, Kevin A|
|Commitee:||Asenas, Jennifer, Eisenstadt, Michael|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 81/4(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Communication, Rhetoric, Law|
|Keywords:||definition, pursuit of happiness, rights rhetoric, Supreme Court, terministic screens|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be