Declaration Of Independence

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Declaration Of Independence

  1. 1. Final Version is the Engrossed Copy. Thank you to US History.org for publishing all the different versions. E GROSSED (FI AL) FIRST DRAFT REPORTED DRAFT COPY A Declaration by the A Declaration by the In Congress, July 4,1776. Representatives of the United Representatives of the States of America in general UNITED STATES OF The Unanimous Declaration Congress assembled. AMERICA in General of the thirteen United States Congress assembled. of America. When in the Course of human When in the course of human When in the Course of human Events it becomes necessary events it becomes necessary events, it becomes necessary for a People to advance from for one people to dissolve the for one people to dissolve the that Subordination, in which political bands which have political bands which have they have hitherto remained connected them with another connected them with another, and to assume among the and to assume among the and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the powers of the earth the powers of the earth, the equal and independent separate and equal station to separate and equal station to Station to which the Laws of which the laws of nature and which the Laws of Nature Nature and of Nature's God of nature's God entitle them, and of Nature's God entitle entitle them, a decent Respect a decent respect to the them, a decent respect to the to the opinions of Mankind opinions of mankind requires opinions of mankind requires requires that they should that they should declare the that they should declare the declare the Causes, which causes which impel them to causes which impel them to impell them to the Change. the separation. the separation. We hold these Truths to be We hold these truths to be We hold these truths to be self evident; that all Men are self-evident that all men are self-evident, that all men are created equal and created equal; that they are created equal, that they are independent; that from that endowed by their creator with endowed by their Creator equal Creation they derive inherent & inalienable rights, with certain unalienable Rights inherent and that among these are life, rights, that among these are unalienable; among which are liberty, and the pursuit of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit the Preservation of Life, and happiness; that to secure of Happiness. That to secure Liberty, and the Pursuit of these rights governments are these rights, Governments are Happiness; that to secure instituted among men instituted among Men, these Ends, Governments are deriving their just powers deriving their just powers instituted among Men, from the consent of the from the consent of the deriving their just Powers governed; that whenever any governed. —That whenever from the Consent of the form of government becomes any Form of Government governed; that whenever, any destructive of these ends, it is becomes destructive of these
  2. 2. form of Government shall the right of the people to alter ends, it is the right of the become destructive of these or to abolish it, and to People to alter or to abolish ends, it is the Right of the institute new government, it, and to institute new People to alter, or to abolish laying its foundation on such Government, laying its it, and to institute new principles and organizing its foundation on such Government, laying its powers in such form, as to principles, and organizing its Foundation on such them shall seem most likely powers in such form, as to Principles, and organizing its to effect their happiness. them shall seem most likely power in such Form, as to Prudence indeed will dictate to effect their Safety and them shall Seem most likely that governments long Happiness. Prudence, indeed, to effect their Safety and established should not be will dictate that Governments Happiness. Prudence indeed changed for light and long established should not will dictate that Governments transient causes: and be changed for light and long established should not accordingly all experience transient causes; and be changed for light and hath shown that mankind are accordingly all experience transient Causes; and more disposed to suffer while hath shown, that mankind are accordingly all Experience evils are sufferable, than to more disposed to suffer, hath shown, that Mankind are right themselves by while evils are sufferable, more disposed to Suffer, abolishing the forms to which than to right themselves by while Evils are Sufferable, they are accustomed. But abolishing the forms to which than to right themselves, by when a long train of abuses they are accustomed. But abolishing the Forms to and usurpations begun at a when a long train of abuses which they are accustomed. distinguished period and and usurpations pursuing But when a long Train of pursuing invariably the same invariably the same Object, Abuses and Usurpations, object, evinces a design to evinces a design to reduce begun at a distinguish'd reduce them under absolute them under absolute Period, and pursuing despotism, it is their right, it Despotism, it is their right, it invariably, the same object, is their duty, to throw off is their duty, to throw off evinces a Design to reduce such government and to such Government, and to them under absolute Power, it provide new guards for their provide new Guards for their is their Right, it is their Duty, future security. Such has been future security. Such has been to throw off such the patient sufferance of these the patient sufferance of these Government, and to provide colonies, and such is now the Colonies; and such is now the new Guards for their future necessity which constrains necessity which constrains Security. Such has been the them to expunge their former them to alter their former patient Sufferance of these systems of government. The Systems of Government. The Colonies; and such is now the history of the present king of history of the present King of Necessity, which constrains Great Britain is a history of Great Britain is a history of them to expunge their former unremitting injuries and repeated injuries and Systems of Government. The usurpations, among which usurpations, all having in History of his present appears no solitary fact to direct object the Majesty, is a History of contradict the uniform tenor establishment of an absolute unremitting Injuries and of the rest; but all having in Tyranny over these States. To Usurpations, among which no direct object the prove this let Facts be
  3. 3. one Fact stands Single or establishment of an absolute submitted to a candid world. Solitary to contradict the tyranny over these states. To uniform Tenor of the rest, all prove this let facts be of which have in direct submitted to a candid world, object, the Establishment of for the truth of which we an absolute Tyranny over pledge a faith yet unsullied these States. To prove this, let by falsehood. Facts be Submitted to a candid World, for the Truth of which We pledge a Faith, as yet unsullied by falsehood. He has refused his Assent to He has refused his assent to He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome laws the most wholesome and Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public necessary for the public and necessary for the public good. good: good. He has forbidden his He has forbidden his He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of governors to pass laws of Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing immediate and pressing immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended importance, unless suspended importance, unless suspended in their operation, till his in their operation till his in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; assent should be obtained, Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended he and when so suspended, he and, when so suspended, he has neglected utterly to attend has utterly neglected to attend has utterly neglected to attend to them. to them. to them. He has refused to pass other He has refused to pass other He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation laws for the accommodation Laws for the accommodation of large Districts of People, of large districts of people of large districts of people, unless those People would unless those people would unless those people would relinquish the Right of relinquish the right of relinquish the right of Representation in the representation, in the Representation in the Legislature, a Right legislature, a right Legislature, a right inestimable to them, and inestimable to them, and inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only. formidable to tyrants only. formidable to tyrants only. He has called together He has called together legislative bodies at places legislative bodies at places
  4. 4. unusual, uncomfortable and unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of distant from the depository of their public records, for the their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with them into compliance with his measures. his measures. He has dissolved He has dissolved He has dissolved Representative Houses, Representative houses Representative Houses repeatedly, and continually, repeatedly and continually for repeatedly for opposing with for opposing with manly opposing with manly manly firmness his invasions Firmness his Invasions on the firmness his invasions on the on the rights of the people. Rights of the People. right of the people: He has refused, for a long He has refused for a long He has refused for a long Space of Time after such time after such dissolutions to time after such dissolutions to Dissolutions, to cause others cause others to be elected cause others to be elected, to be elected, whereby the whereby the legislative whereby the Legislative legislative Powers, incapable powers incapable of powers, incapable of of annihilation, have returned annihilation, have returned to Annihilation have returned to to the People at large for their the people at large for their the People at large for their Exercise, the state remaining exercise, the state remaining exercise, the State remaining, in the mean Time, exposed to in the mean time exposed to in the meantime, exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion, all the dangers of invasion all the dangers of invasion from without, and from without and convulsions from without, and Convulsions within— within: convulsions within. He has endeavoured to He has endeavored to prevent He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of the population of these states, prevent the population of these States; for that purpose for that purpose obstructing these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for the laws for naturalization of obstructing the Laws for naturalization of foreigners; foreigners; refusing to pass Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to others to encourage their refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations migrations hither; and raising encourage their migrations hither; and raising the the conditions of new hither, and raising the Conditions of new appropriations of lands: conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. Appropriations of Lands. He has suffered the He has suffered the He has obstructed the
  5. 5. Administration of Justice administration of justice Administration of Justice by totally to cease in some of totally to cease in some of refusing his Assent to Laws these Colonies, refusing his these states, refusing his for establishing Judiciary Assent to Laws for assent to laws for establishing powers. establishing Judiciary judiciary powers: Powers. He has made our Judges He has made judges He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, dependant on his will alone, dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their for the tenure of their offices for the tenure of their offices, offices, and amount of their and the amount and payment and the amount and payment Salaries: of their salaries: of their salaries. He has created a Multitude of He has erected a multitude of He has erected a multitude of new offices by a Self- new offices by a self assumed New Offices, and sent hither assumed Power, and sent power and sent hither swarms swarms of Officers to harass hither swarms of officers to of officers to harass our our people, and eat out their harass our People and eat out people and eat out their substance. their Substance. substance: He has kept among us, in He has kept among us in He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing times of peace, standing times of peace, Standing Armies and Ships of War. armies and ships of war Armies without the Consent without the consent of our of our legislatures. legislatures: He has affected to render the He has affected to render the He has affected to render the military, independent of, and military, independent of and Military independent of and Superiour to, the civil Power. superior to the civil power: superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others He has combined with others He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction to subject us to a jurisdiction to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution foreign to our constitutions foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our and unacknowledged by our and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to laws, giving his assent to laws; giving his Assent to their pretended Acts of their acts of pretended their Acts of pretended Legislation; for quartering legislation, for quartering Legislation: large Bodies of armed Troops large bodies of armed troops
  6. 6. among us; for protecting among us; for protecting them by a Mock Tryal from them by a mock trial from For quartering large bodies of Punishment for any Murders punishment for any murders armed troops among us: they should commit on the which they should commit on Inhabitants of these States; the inhabitants of these states; For protecting them, by a for cutting off our Trade with for cutting off our trade with mock Trial from punishment all Parts of the World; for all parts of the world; for for any Murders which they imposing Taxes on as without imposing taxes on us without should commit on the our Consent; for depriving Us our consent; for depriving us Inhabitants of these States: of the Benefits of Trial by in many cases of the benefits Jury; for transporting us of trial by jury; for For cutting off our trade with beyond Seas to be tried for transporting us beyond seas all parts of the world: pretended offenses; for taking to be tried for pretended away our Charters, and offences; for abolishing the For imposing Taxes on us altering fundamentally the free system of English laws without our Consent —For Forms of our Government; in a neighboring province, depriving us in many cases of for suspending our own establishing therein an the benefits of Trial by jury: Legislatures and declaring arbitrary government and themselves invested with enlarging its boundaries so as For transporting us beyond Power to legislate for us in all to render it at once an Seas to be tried for pretended Cases whatsoever. example and fit instrument offences: for introducing the same absolute rule into these For abolishing the free colonies; for taking away our System of English Laws in a charters, abolishing our most neighbouring Province, valuable laws, and establishing therein an fundamentally the forms of Arbitrary government, and our governments, for enlarging its Boundaries so as suspending our own to render it at once an legislatures and declaring example and fit instrument themselves invested with for introducing the same power to legislate for us in all absolute rule into these cases whatsoever: 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 tbemselves invested with power to legislate for us in all
  7. 7. cases whatsoever. He has abdicated He has abdicated government He has abdicated Government here, here, withdrawing his Government here by withdrawing his Governors, governors, and declaring us declaring us out of his and declaring us, out of his out of his allegiance and Protection, and waging war Allegiance and Protection. protection. against us. He has plundered our Seas, He has plundered our seas, He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our ravaged our coasts, burnt our ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the towns and destroyed the lives towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People. of our people: Lives of our people. He is at this Time He is at this time transporting He is at this time transporting transporting large Armies of large armies of foreign large Armies of foreign foreign Mercenaries to mercenaries to complete the Mercenaries to compleat the complete the Works of death, works of death, desolation works of death, desolation, Desolation, and Tyranny, and tyranny already begun and tyranny, already begun already begun with with circumstances of cruelty with circumstances of cruelty Circumstances of Cruelty and and perfidy unworthy the and perfidy scarcely Perfidy unworthy the Head of head of a civilized nation: paralleled in the most a civilized Nation. barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has endeavoured to bring He has endeavored to bring He has excited domestic on the Inhabitants of our on the inhabitants of our insurrection among us, and Frontiers, the merciless frontiers the merciless Indian has endeavoured to bring on Indian Savages, whose savages, whose known rule of the inhabitants of our known Rule of Warfare is an warfare is an undistinguished frontiers, the merciless Indian undistinguished Destruction destruction of all ages, sexes, Savages, whose known rule of all Ages, Sexes, and and conditions of existence. of warfare, is an Conditions of existence. undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and He has incited treasonable conditions. He has incited treasonable insurrections of our fellow- Insurrections of our Fellow citizens, with the allurements Citizens, with the allurement of forfeiture and confiscation of Forfeiture and of our property: Confiscation of our Property.
  8. 8. He has constrained others, He has constrained our fellow taken captive on the high seas citizens taken Captive on the to bear arms against their high Seas, to bear arms country, to become the against their Country, to executioners of their friends become the executioners of and brethren, or to fall their friends and Brethren, or themselves by their hands: to fall themselves by their Hands. He has waged cruel War He has waged cruel war against human Nature itself, against human nature itself, violating its most sacred violating its most sacred Rights of Life and Liberty in rights of life and liberty in the the Persons of a distant persons of distant people, People who never offended who never offended him, him, captivating and carrying captivating and carrying them them into Slavery in another into slavery in another Hemisphere, or to incur hemisphere, or to incur miserable Death, in their miserable death in their Transportation thither. This transportation thither. This piratical Warfare, the piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel opprobrium of infidel Powers, is the Warfare of the powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Christian king of Great Britain. Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought and sold, he He has prostituted his has prostituted his negative Negative for Suppressing for suppressing every every legislative Attempt to legislative attempt to prohibit prohibit or to restrain an or to restrain this execrable execrable Commerce, commerce: and that this determined to keep open a assemblage of horrors might Market where Men should be want no fact of distinguished bought and sold, and that this dye, he is now exciting those assemblage of Horrors might very people to rise in arms want no Fact of distinguished among us, and to purchase Die. that liberty of which he has deprived them by murdering He is now exciting those very the people upon whom he People to rise in Arms among also obtruded them; thus us, and to purchase their paying off former crime Liberty of which he has committed against the deprived them, by murdering
  9. 9. the People upon whom he liberties of one people, with also obtruded them: thus crimes which he urges them paying off, former Crimes to commit against the lives of committed against the another. Liberties of one People, with Crimes which he urges them to commit against the Lives of another. In every stage of these In every stage of these In every stage of these oppressions we have oppressions we have Oppressions We have petitioned for redress, in the petitioned for redress in the Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms; our most humble terms; our most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been repeated petitions have been repeated Petitions have been answered by repeated Injury. answered only by repeated answered only by repeated A Prince, whose Character is injuries. A prince whose injuries. thus marked by every Act character is thus marked by which may define a Tyrant, is every act which may define a A Prince whose character is unfit to be the Ruler of a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler thus marked by every act People who mean to be free. of a people who mean to be which may define a Tyrant, is — future ages will scarce free. Future ages will scarce unfit to be the ruler of a free believe, that the Hardiness of believe that the hardiness of people. one Man, adventured, within one man adventured within the Short Compass of twelve the short compass of twelve years only, on so many Acts years only, to build a of Tyranny, without a Mask, foundation, so broad and over a People, fostered and undisguised for tyranny over fixed in the Principles of a people fostered and fixed in Liberty. principles of freedom. Nor have we been wanting in Nor have we been wanting in Nor have We been wanting in Attentions to our British attentions to our British attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned brethren. We have warned brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of them from time to time of them from time to time of attempts of their Legislature attempts by their legislature attempts by their legislature to extend a Jurisdiction over to extend an unwarrantable to extend an unwarrantable these our States. We have jurisdiction over these our jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the states. We have reminded reminded them of the Circumstances of our them of the circumstances of circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement our emigration and settlement emigration and settlement here, no one of which could here, no one of which could here. We have appealed to warrant so strange a warrant so strange a their native justice and
  10. 10. Pretension. That these were pretension: that these were magnanimity and we have effected at the expense of our effected at the expence of our conjured them by the ties of own Blood and Treasure, own blood and treasure, our common kindred to unassisted by the Wealth or unassisted by the wealth or disavow these usurpations the Strength of Great Britain; strength of Great Britain: that which would inevitably that in constituting indeed, in constituting indeed our interrupt our connection and our Several Forms of several forms of government, correspondence. They too Government, we had adopted we had adopted a common have been deaf to the voice of one common King, thereby king, thereby laying a justice and of consanguinity. laying a Foundation for foundation for perpetual We must therefore acquiesce Perpetual League and Amity league and amity with them: in the necessity which with them; but that but that submission to their denounces our separation and Submission to their parliament was no part of our hold them, as we hold the rest Parliament, was no Part of constitution nor ever in idea, of mankind, Enemies in War, our Constitution, nor ever in if history be credited; and we in Peace Friends. Idea, if History may be have appealed to their native credited; and we appealed to justice and magnanimity, as their Nature, Justice and well as to the ties of our Magnanimity, as well as to common kindred, to disavow the Ties of our common these usurpations which were Kindred to disavow these likely to interrupt our usurpations, which were connection and likely to interrupt our correspondence. They too Correspondence and have been deaf to the voice of Connection. They too have justice and of consanguinity, been deaf to the Voice of and when occasions have Justice and of Consanguinity, been given them, by the and when occasions have regular course of their laws of been given them by the removing from their councils regular Course of their Laws the disturbers of our of removing from their harmony, they have by their Councils, the Disturbers of free elections re-established our Harmony, they have by them in power. At this very their free Election, re- time they are permitting their established them in Power. At chief magistrate to send over this very Time too, they are not only soldiers of our own permitting their Chief blood, but Scotch and other Magistrate to send over not foreign mercenaries, to only soldiers of our common invade and destroy us. These Blood, but Scotch and foreign facts have given the last stab Mercenaries, to invade and to agonizing affections, and deluge us in Blood. These manly spirit bids us to Facts have given the last Stab renounce forever these to agonizing affection, and unfeeling brethren. We must
  11. 11. manly Spirit bids us to endeavor to forget our former renounce forever these love for them, to hold them as unfeeling Brethren. We must we hold the rest of mankind endeavour to forget our enemies in war, in peace former Love for them, and to friends. hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, enemies in War, We might have been a free in Peace Friends. We might and a great people together; have been a free and a great but a communication of People together but a grandeur and of freedom it Communication of Grandeur seems, is below their dignity. and of Freedom it seems is Be it so, since they will have below their Dignity. Be it so, it: the road to happiness and since they will have it: The to glory is open to us too; we Road to Happiness and to will climb it apart from them, Glory is open to us too; we and acquiesce in the necessity will climb it, apart from which denounces our eternal them, and acquiesce in the separation! Necessity which denounces our eternal Separation. We therefore the We therefore the We, therefore, the Representatives of the United representatives of the United Representatives of the United States of America in General States in General Congress States of America, in General Congress assembled, do, in assembled in the name and by Congress Assembled, the Name, and by the authority of the good people appealing to the Supreme Authority of the good People of these states, reject and Judge of the world for the of these States, reject and renounce all allegiance and rectitude of our intentions, renounce all Allegiance and subjection to the kings of do, in the Name, and by Subjection to the Kings of Great Britain and all others Authority of the good People Great Britain, and all others, who may hereafter claim by, of these Colonies, solemnly who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; we publish and declare, that through, or under them; We utterly dissolve all political these United Colonies are, utterly dissolve and break off, connection which may and of Right ought to be Free all political Connection heretofore have subsisted and Independent States; that which may have heretofore between us and the people or they are Absolved from all subsisted between us and the parliament of Great Britain, allegiance to the British People or Parliament of Great and finally we do assert and Crown, and that all political Britain, and finally we do declare these colonies to be connection between them and assert and declare these free and independant, and the State of Great Britain, is Colonies to be free and that as free and independant and ought to be totally independent States, and that states, they have full power to dissolved; and that as Free as free and independent levy war, conclude peace, and Independent states, they
  12. 12. States they shall hereafter contract alliances, establish have full Power to levy War, have Power to levy War, commerce, and to do all other conclude Peace, contract conclude Peace, contract acts and things which Alliances, establish Alliances, establish independent states may of Commerce, and to do all Commerce, and to do all right do. And for the support other Acts and Things which other Acts and Things which of this declaration we Independent States may of independent States may of mutually pledge to each other right do. — And for the Right do. And for the Support our lives, our fortunes, and support of this Declaration, of this Declaration, we our sacred honour. with a firm reliance on the mutually pledge to each other protection of divine our Lives, our Fortunes, and Providence, we mutually our Sacred Honour. pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

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