Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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 tosecure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, derivingtheir just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever anyForm of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right ofthe People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers insuch Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety andHappiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments longestablished should not be changed for light and transient Causes; andaccordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed tosuffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves byabolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a longTrain of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object,evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is theirRight, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to providenew Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patientSufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity whichconstrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. TheHistory of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeatedInjuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishmentof an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts besubmitted to a candid World.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary forthe public Good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressingImportance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent shouldbe obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attendto them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of largeDistricts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right ofRepresentation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, andformidable 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 hisMeasures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing withmanly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.
He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause othersto be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable ofAnnihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise;the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers ofInvasion from without, and Convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for thatPurpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusingto pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising theConditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assentto Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of theirOffices, and the Amount and payment of their Salaries.
He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms ofOfficers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.
He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without theconsent of our Legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of, and superior tothe Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign toour Constitution, and unacknowledged by out Laws; giving his Assent totheir Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murderswhich 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 neighbouringProvince, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlargingits Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrumentfor introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, andaltering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves investedwith Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protectionand waging War against us.
He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, anddestroyed the Lives of our People.
He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries tocompleat the works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun withcircumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the mostbarbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas tobear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of theirFriends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured tobring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages,whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of allAges, Sexes and Conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress inthe most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered onlyby repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by everyact which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a freePeople.
Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We havewarned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extendan unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealedto their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them bythe Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which,would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They toohave 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, inGeneral Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the Worldfor the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authorityof the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, Thatthese United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free andIndependent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to theBritish Crown, and that all political Connection between them and theState of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and thatas Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War,conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do allother Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And forthe support of this declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protectionof divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, ourFortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Adams, John MA Lawyer
Adams, Samuel MA Political leader
Bartlett, Josiah NH Physician, Judge
Braxton, Carter VA Farmer
Carroll, Charles of Carrollton MD Lawyer
Chase, Samuel MD Judge
Clark, Abraham NJ Surveyor
Clymer, George PA Merchant
Ellery, William RI Lawyer
Floyd, William NY Soldier
Franklin, Benjamin PA Printer, Publisher
Gerry, Elbridge MA Merchant
Gwinnett, Button GA Merchant
Hall, Lyman GA Physician
Hancock, John MA Merchant
Harrison, Benjamin VA Farmer
Hart, John NJ Farmer
Hewes, Joseph NC Merchant
Heyward, Thomas Jr. SC Lawyer, Farmer
Hooper, William NC Lawyer
Hopkins, Stephen RI Judge, Educator
Hopkinson, Francis NJ Judge, Author
Huntington, Samuel CT Judge
Jefferson, Thomas VA Lawyer
Lee, Francis Lightfoot VA Farmer
Lee, Richard Henry VA Farmer
Lewis, Francis NY Merchant
Livingston, Philip NY Merchant
Lynch, Thomas Jr. SC Farmer
McKean, Thomas DE Lawyer
Middleton, Arthur SC Farmer
Morris, Lewis NY Farmer
Morris, Robert PA Merchant
Morton, John PA Judge
Nelson, Thomas Jr. VA Farmer
Paca, William MD Judge
Paine, Robert Treat MA Judge
Penn, John NC Lawyer
Read, George DE Judge
Rodney, Caesar DE Judge
Ross, George PA Judge
Rush, Benjamin PA Physician
Rutledge, Edward SC Lawyer
Sherman, Roger CT Lawyer
Smith, James PA Lawyer
Stockton, Richard NJ Lawyer
Stone, Thomas MD Lawyer
Taylor, George PA Ironmaster
Thornton, Matthew NH Physician
Walter, George GA Judge
Whipple, William NH Merchant, Judge
Williams, William CT Merchant
Wilson, James PA Judge
Witherspoon, John NJ Educator
Wolcott, Oliver CT Judge
Wythe, George VA Lawyer