Monday, July 04, 2011

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

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
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
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
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
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton


fishy said...

Well done Karl!

my favorite line:
"... governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed".

Blessings on your day and our nation.

Anonymous said...

That's a fine document. Thanks for posting this, Karl.

Pam said...

Yes, thanks for posting this. I want to go back and re-read it closer. And working around the current yoyos at a more local level, I can't imagine them ever hammering out such a document and then agreeing to it. Happy 4th to you Karl! New photo challenge is your low light suggestion!

K9 said...

amazing how often lately the argument against this life saving document is made...that it should be fluid and should evolve. even so called conservatives say this, like george will just this week. we must remain, ever vigilant. thanks for posting. important since about a third of this nation has no idea what we won independence from.

Boxer said...

I wonder if this is read in school anymore? It's a beautiful document, one that lives and breaths and for better (and worse at times) continues to do so.

Wishing and Mrs. Karl (and the two cats!) a very happy 4th of July.

moi said...

A truly revolutionary assertion of the rights of individuals over those of a collective—perhaps one of the greatest ever written.

How scary, though, that some of these grievances seem still to be in place.

Buzz Kill said...

I haven't read that in a long time Karl. A list of grievances as long as your arm. And fighting words too. Thanks for reminding me what this day means.

Happy 4th and try not to blow up a bridge or start a coup in some poor Central American country (unless it's absolutely necessary).

Roses said...

Happy 5th of July, as you recover from the celebrations of the fouth.

Hope you are both well.

I think it's a very fine document indeed. I'm a novice at US politics, but I fail to see what ammendments apart from changing 'Men' to 'People' could/should be made.

Karl said...

Fishy: Unfortunately our present government seems to have forgotten who they represent.

Hoping your Blowfish and Mermaids celebration was as good as mine.

Troll: Yes it is, you're welcome. Did you enjoy a pleasant 4th of July celebration?

Pam: None of our current political leaders are capable of producing such a document, much less exhibiting the fortitude to implement it.

Low light will be and is challenging. I look forward to what everyone comes up with.

Hope Kym's doing well.

K9: The basics of the document are sound and solid and really only need to evolve, in that it include all men and women. It does not however, need to include those unwilling to learn, produce or work.

Boxer: I believe it is. The question is are we actually teaching the children true meaning of the document. That liberty and freedom are treasured commodities. Commodities worth fighting and dying for. Commodities not to be given lightly into the hands of a politician willing to sell you short, for his own personal gain.

We all had quite a fine time, the cats however were not impressed with 4 solid days of fireworks. I find it interesting that you're so surprised about the cats. They're better suited to boat life than dogs. I actually feel sorry for most of the live-aboard dogs, I've met. Not that their owners don't love them. Dogs need to be able to run and frolic. (or obsessively chase tennis balls.) Not conducive to boat life.

Moi: Yes, but the individual (England) was restraining the rights of the collective. I believe you may be right.

Not only scary that the grievances are still in place, that so many are no longer willing to fight for them.

Buzz Kill: And worth fighting for. When you're done vacationing up in the lap of luxury. I would charge you to impress upon your Scouts, the importance and the meaning of the document. Their freedom depends on it.

How about are rich Central American country?

Roses: No recovery necessary, although several hours at 50 feet today, felt quite therapeutic.

We are indeed well. Times for you are challenging right now. You seem to be on the right path, hold to it.

All the people, duly noted.

To all: Sorry for the slow reply. I hope all of you had a fine holiday, being the party host and work can be quite time consuming.

Aunty Belle said...

This is very cool--an ' when I tried to come by before I reckon blogger ate my comment or I failed to hit the publish button? Sorry..
very nifty.

take heed all pollyticians:

"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..."