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S CONGRESS, JULY FOURTE
DRED AND SEVENTY
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DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
IN CONGRESS, JULY FOURTH, ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUN
DRED AND SEVENTY-SIX. [JULY 4, 1776.]
1. A DECLARATION by the representatives of the United States of America, in congress assembled.
2. When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to diffolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the feparate 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 feparation,
3. 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 juft powers from the consent of the governed ;
4. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. institute Baovernment, laying its foundation
their duty, to throw off fuch government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
7. 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 eftablishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. prove this, let facts be fubmitted to a candid world.
8. 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 presling importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained ; and when fo fufpended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
9. 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.
10. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depofitory of their public records, for the fole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved reprefentative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
11. 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 danger of invasion from with. out, and convulsions within.
12. He has endeavored 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.
13." He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his affent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their oftices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
14. 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.
15. He has affected to render the military independent of and fuperior 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 :
16. 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 cafes, of the benefits of trial by jury :
17. For transporting us beyond feas to be tried for pretended offences : for abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 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 fame-abfolute rule into these colonies :
18. For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments : for fufpending our own legislatures, and de claring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatever.
19. 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.
20. He is at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, defolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
21. 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. 22. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us,
and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian favages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, fexes and conditions.
23. 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 de. fine a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
24. Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurifdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.
25. 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 connexions and correspondence.
26. 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
27. 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 the authority of the good people of these colonies, folemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES ;
28. That they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them and the Itate 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 ftates may of right do.
29. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm Feliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our facred honor. Signed by order and in behalf of the con