Declaration of Independence

[Adopted in Congress 4 July 1776]
The Original Version of this Text was
Rendered into HTML by Jon Roland
of the Constitution Society
Converted to PDF by Danny Stone
as a Community Service to the Constitution Society

Declaration of Independence
The Unanimous Declaration of the
Thirteen United States of America

Then, in the course of human events, it becomes
necessary for one people to dissolve the political
bonds 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 to 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 meantime
exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and
convulsions within.

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
migration 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

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither
swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies
without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and
superior to 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 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

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended

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 same
absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable
laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our

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

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, burned 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 and
perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and
totaly unworth 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
endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the
merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is
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 attention to our British
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. 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 the 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 levey 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment