Declaration of Independence

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands  which have connected them with another, and to assume  among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal  station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God  entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind  requires that they should declare the causes which impel  them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are  created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator  with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,  Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these  rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving  their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That, whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish  it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation  on such principles and organizing its powers in such form,  as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and  Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments  long established should not be changed for light and  transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown,  that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are  sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms  to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of  abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same  Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute  Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such  Government, and to provide new Guards for their future  security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these  Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains  them to alter their former Systems of Government. The  history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of  repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object  the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.  To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. 

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most  wholesome and necessary for the public good. 

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws  of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should  be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly  neglected to attend to them. 

He has refused to pass other Laws for the  accommodation of large districts of people,  unless those people would relinquish the right of  Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable  to them and formidable to tyrants only. 

He has called together legislative bodies at places  unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the  depository of their public Records, for the sole  purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with  his measures. 

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly,  for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on  the rights of the people. 

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions,  to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative  powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned  to the People at large for their exercise; the State  remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers  of invasion from without, and convulsions within. 

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of  these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for  Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others  to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the  conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. 

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice,  by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing  Judiciary powers. 

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone,  for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and  payment of their salaries. 

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent  hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and  eat out their substance. 

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing  Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. 

He has affected to render the Military independent  of and superior to the Civil power. 

He has combined with others to subject us to  a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and  unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to  their Acts of pretended Legislation: 

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among  us: 

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from  punishment for any Murders which they should  commit on the Inhabitants of these States: 

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: 

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for  pretended offences: 

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries  so as to render it at once an example and fit  instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: 

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: 

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring  themselves invested with power to legislate for us in  all cases whatsoever. 

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us  out of his Protection and waging War against us. 

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt  our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. 

He is at this time transporting large Armies of  foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of  death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with  circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled  in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the  Head of a civilized nation. 

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive  on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country,  to become the executioners of their friends and  Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. 

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us,  and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants  of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages,  whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished  destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. 

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated  Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.  A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act  which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free  people. 

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish  brethren. We have warned them from time to time of  attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable  jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the  circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We  have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and  we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred  to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably  interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too  have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.  We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which  denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the  rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. 

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of  America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to  the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our  intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good  People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,  That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be  Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from  all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political  connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and  Independent States, they have full Power to levy War,  conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce,  and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent  States may of right do. And for the support of this  Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine  Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our  Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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