THE 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 of 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 harass 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 compleat 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 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. 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. 

JOHN HANCOCK, President

Attested, CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary

New Hampshire 
 JOSIAH BARTLETT
 WILLIAM WHIPPLE
 MATTHEW THORNTON

Massachusetts-Bay
 SAMUEL ADAMS
 JOHN ADAMS
 ROBERT TREAT PAINE
 ELBRIDGE GERRY

Rhode Island
 STEPHEN HOPKINS
 WILLIAM ELLERY

Connecticut
 ROGER SHERMAN
 SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
 WILLIAM WILLIAMS
 OLIVER WOLCOTT

Georgia
 BUTTON GWINNETT
 LYMAN HALL
 GEO. WALTON

Maryland
 SAMUEL CHASE
 WILLIAM PACA
 THOMAS STONE
 CHARLES CARROLL
    OF CARROLLTON

Virginia
 GEORGE WYTHE
 RICHARD HENRY LEE
 THOMAS JEFFERSON
 BENJAMIN HARRISON
 THOMAS NELSON, JR.
 FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE
 CARTER BRAXTON.

New York
 WILLIAM FLOYD
 PHILIP LIVINGSTON
 FRANCIS LEWIS
 LEWIS MORRIS

Pennsylvania
 ROBERT MORRIS
 BENJAMIN RUSH
 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
 JOHN MORTON
 GEORGE CLYMER
 JAMES SMITH
 GEORGE TAYLOR
 JAMES WILSON
 GEORGE ROSS

Delaware
 CAESAR RODNEY
 GEORGE READ
 THOMAS M'KEAN

North Carolina
 WILLIAM HOOPER
 JOSEPH HEWES
 JOHN PENN

South Carolina
 EDWARD RUTLEDGE
 THOMAS HEYWARD, JR.
 THOMAS LYNCH, JR.
 ARTHUR MIDDLETON

New Jersey
 RICHARD STOCKTON
 JOHN WITHERSPOON
 FRANCIS HOPKINS
 JOHN HART
 ABRAHAM CLARK


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