Essay Summary

This essay has a total of 3193 words and 19 pages.

Essay

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 shewn, 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 for 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 harrass
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 attentions to our Brittish 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.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
[Column 1]
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
[Column 2]
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
[Column 3]
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
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
[Column 4]
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 McKean
[Column 5]
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
[Column 6]
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Continues for 10 more pages >>




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