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The Declaration of Independence of The 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 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 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, 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 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.