The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
Thomas Jefferson


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 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 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 complete the works of death, desolation and
tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy
scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally
unworthy of 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, genders 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 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 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.


Signed by ORDER and in BEHALF of the CONGRESS,
JOHN HANONK, PRESIDENT.
ATTEST.
CHARLES THOMSON, SECRETARY.

 

Massachusetts
John Hanock
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Matthew Thornton

Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery

Connecticut
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

New York
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

New Jersey
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

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

Maryland
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carrol

Virginia
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

North Carolina
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn

South Carolina
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward
Thomas Lynch
Arthur Middleton

Georgia
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

 Thomas Jefferson


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