Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

In Congress, July 4, 1776

Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to put an end to the political bonds which have connected them with another, and between the powers of the earth, separate and Nature and God’s laws of nature give them equal status, civilized respect for the views of mankind requires that they declare the reasons which lead them to differ.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. – In order to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their proper powers from the consent of the governed, – that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, to replace it or to abolish, and to establish a new government, the people have the right to base it on such principles and to organize its powers in such a form as is most likely to affect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, would dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and momentary reasons; and accordingly all experience has shown, that mankind are more inclined to suffer than to correct themselves by eliminating the forms to which they are accustomed, while evils are tolerable. But when a long series of abuses and usurpations, always pursuing the same object, uncover a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to overthrow such a government. , and to provide new guards for their future security.–Such has been the suffering of these colonies; And now there is a need which compels them to change their former systems of governance. The history of the current king of Great Britain is a history of repeated blows and usurpations, the direct purpose of which is the establishment of absolute tyranny over these states. To prove it, let the facts be presented to the clear world.

They have refused to give their assent to the most just and necessary laws for the good of the people.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and urgent importance, suspending their operation until his assent has been obtained; And when he was suspended, he completely neglected to take care of them.

They have refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of the people of the larger districts, unless they give up the right of representation in the Legislature, a right invaluable to them and formidable only to tyrants.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, inconvenient, and far from the repositories of his public records, for the sole purpose of tiring them into compliance with his measures.

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He has repeatedly dissolved the House of Representatives to resist with manly firmness his attacks on the rights of the people.

He has for a long time, after such a dissolution, refused to get others elected; Whereby legislative powers incapable of subversion have reverted to the people at large for their own exercise; Meanwhile the kingdom faced all the dangers of invasion from outside and defiance from within.

They have tried to contain the population of these states; Obstructing the laws for the naturalization of aliens for that purpose; Prohibiting others from encouraging migration here, and increasing the conditions for new appropriations of land.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing to give his assent to laws establishing the powers of the judiciary.

They have made judges dependent only on their will for their tenure, the amount of their salary and the payment.

He has created a lot of new offices, and sent hordes of officials here to harass our people and eat their property.

They have placed standing armies among us, in time of peace, without the consent of our legislatures.

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They have had the effect of making the military independent and superior to the civilian power.

He, along with others, has subjected us to jurisdiction beyond our constitution and unacceptable by our laws; Giving his assent to his acts of sham legislation:

To surround large groups of armed soldiers among us:

To protect the inhabitants of these states from any punishment for murder, by a mock trial:

To close your trade from any part of the world:

To tax us without our consent:

To deny us the benefits of a trial by jury in many cases:

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To take us beyond the seas to prosecute ostentatious crimes

To put an end to the independent system of English laws in the neighboring province, to establish an arbitrary government there, and to extend its limits so that it may immediately set an example and be made a suitable instrument for the introduction of the same absolute rule in these colonies could:

To take away our charter, nullify our most valuable laws, and fundamentally change the nature of our governments:

To suspend our own legislatures and to declare that they have power to legislate for us on any matter.

They have left the government here by declaring us out of their protection and waging war against us.

It has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our cities and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time leading large armies of foreign mercenaries to carry out acts of death, destruction and tyranny, which have already been compared to the brutality and treachery in the most barbaric ages, and a civilized Totally unfit to head the nation.

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He has compelled our fellow citizens who were taken captive at sea to take up arms against their country, to be executioners for their friends and brothers, or to be killed by their own hands.

He has incited domestic rebellions among us, and has endeavored to cause a conspicuous extermination of all ages, sexes, and conditions, to the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian barbarians, whose known rule of war is.

At every stage of these persecutions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated vexation. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act that might define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor do we want to call attention to our British brothers. We have warned them from time to time about attempts by their legislature to extend undue jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our stay and settlement here. We have appealed to his original justice and liberality, and we have implored him by our common relations of kinship to disapprove of these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondences. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and brotherhood. We must, therefore, accept that necessity which condemns our separation, and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, friends in peace.

Therefore, we, the representatives of the United States of America assembled in General Congress, appeal to the highest judge of the world for the correctness of our intentions, in the name and authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare , That these are United Dominions, and should be free and independent States of authority; that they are free from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political ties between them and the Kingdom of Great Britain should be completely dissolved; and as free and independent states, they have full power to make war, to make peace, to form alliances, to establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which free states may rightfully do. And in 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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