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DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
A DECLARATION, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, July 4, 1776.
HEN, in the course of human W
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 feparate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of man. kind requires that they should declare the causes which im. pel 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 inftitute 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 eftablished should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accutomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, sevinces 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 fubmitted to a can. did 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 affent 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 relin. quish 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 compli. ance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for cpposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused, for a long time after such diffolutions, 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 invafion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these ftates ; for that purpose obftructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners ; refusing to pass others, to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropria ations of lands.
He has obftructed the adminiftration of justice, by refufing 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 falaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers, to harrass our people, and eat out their fubftance.
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 fuperior to the civil nower.
He has combined with others, to fubject us to a jurisdic. tion, foreign to our Conftitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his affent 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 depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury :-
For transporting us beyond feas, to be tried for pretended offences :-
For abolishing the free fyftem of Englith laws in a neighbouring province, eitablishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit inftrument, 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 fuspending 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 began, with circumftances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the moft 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 infurrections 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 de traction of all ages, fexes, and conditions.
In every stage of these oppreffions, we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have heen answered only by repeated injury, A prince whose character is thus marked, by every act, which may
define tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British bre. thren. We have warned them, from time to time, of at. tempts made 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 afsembled, appealing to Supreme Judge of the world, for the rectitude of our inten. tions, 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;--that they are absolved from all allegi. ance to the British crown, and that all political connexion, between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally diffolved; and that, as free and independent itates, 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 honour. Signed by order and in behalf of the Congress,
JOHN HANCOCK, President.
CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.