Why We Pursue Happiness - About the Project

Just as "the happiness of the individual is the end of man" so "the happiness of society is the end of government."

In his thoughts on government, Founding Father John Adams wrote in 1776 that the government that is best for the people is the one that "communicates ease, comfort, security, or in one word happiness to the greatest number of persons, and in the greatest degree."

In fact, the pursuit of happiness is so central to the founding of this nation that it was included in The Declaration of Independence along with life and liberty.

But how do you pursue happiness?

That’s the central question of this project. We look at how America’s power structure inhibits our ability to achieve, discourages our creativity, reduces our desire to excel, and diminishes our dignity. And then we find solutions that rebuild our enthusiasm, enhance our capacity to succeed, and free us from restrictions that limit our aspirations.

Our content encompasses groundbreaking research from today’s leading scholars and idea-makers. From Arthur Brooks to Charles Murray to Mark Perry to Robert Doar, and beyond, we publish content based on research in areas of economics, philosophy, and history, and we figure out how to make it stand up in public policy.

Then we hearken to the Founders’ principles and apply lessons from your experiences. That’s right. Everyday Americans like you are the real “laboratories” for growth and innovation.

Academic research doesn’t work without real-life application. We all have something to learn from the people around us. That’s especially true in Washington. Your experiences are valuable in demonstrating what works and what doesn’t.

So now is the time and here is the place to show Washington:

— How do you create value in your life, and in the lives of others?

— What are you doing to help yourself, your family, and your friends to live productive and meaningful lives?

— What people influence you and add satisfaction and meaning?

— How do you identify happiness?

America represents more than material riches or military power. It is human flourishing itself.

We want you to lead this charge. Share your conversations and stories. Tell us how you are inspired. Give us examples of what’s working (or not) as you navigate your American dream.

The most genuine movements are truly grassroots in nature, and nothing is more fundamental to our core than our ability to pursue our happiness.

So join us in the pursuit. It's what we're all about.

About Our Transition to The Maven

In July 2017, we put our website onto a new social media platform, The Maven, so that we could better interact with our audience. Over the past several years, social media platforms have changed their algorithms, suppressing the reach of many "business" pages. We sought an alternative platform for our audience to use as a place to read our work and share their ideas.

The Maven is a different approach to online community. Here, you can share short conversations or post longer stories about what you are doing in life and how those actions help you pursue happiness. All contributions share equal weight. Your interactions will always be seen. Your input is not subjected to algorithms or popularity contests.

Do you want to see positive change in your life and community, to secure the right to pursue happiness for your descendants? Join us in a constructive dialogue on how to do this.

The Pursuit of Happiness is a project of the American Enterprise Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research organization in Washington, D.C., dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world.