First, under Feudalism (the political system of Kings and peasants,) it was widely accepted that some people were in fact the better than others, and that the people's rights were given to them by their Kings. Jefferson flatly rejected this idea based on the core precepts laid by "Natural Law", ideas which had been written about by not only thinkers like Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, but also Cicero of Rome 2000 years prior. Under Natural Law, mans rights are innate to himself, and those rights can not be created nor destroyed by anyone or anything. In America, our rights are given to us by our Creator, whether one believes that to be God, nature, or the universe. We The People in turn lend those rights to our government, on a very limited basis. Our rights never, ever come from the government. To claim otherwise is, yes -- un-American.
"If we let the government become the purveyor of our rights, I guarantee a mountain of corpses in return," he concludes.