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The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America…

Today we celebrate the birth of a nation.

Today we cel­e­brate the birth of a nation.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

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.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming...

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming…

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.

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