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The Washington Times
The Declaration of Independence
Published July 4, 2004

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
invasions 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 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 and 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 state 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 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
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.
    Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
    North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
    South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch,
Jr., Arthur Middleton
    Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat
Paine, Elbridge Gerry
    Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll
of Carrollton
    Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson,
Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter
    Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John
Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George
    Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
    New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
    New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson,
John Hart, Abraham Clark
    New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple
    Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
    Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams,
Oliver Wolcott
    New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton
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