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 of 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 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 benefit 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 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.

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett,
William Whipple,
Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams,
John Adams,
John Hancock,
Robert Treat Paine,
Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins,
William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman,
Samuel Huntington,
William Williams,
Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd,
Philip Livingston,
Francis Lewis,
Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton,
John Witherspoon,
Francis Hopkinson,
John Hart,
Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris,
Benjamin Rush,
Benjamin Franklin,
John Morton,
George Clymer,
James Smith,
George Taylor,
James Wilson,
George Ross

Delaware:
George Read,
Caesar Rodney,
Thomas McKean

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 Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper,
Joseph Hewes,
John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge,
Thomas Heyward, Jr.,
Thomas Lynch, Jr.,
Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett,
Lyman Hall,
George Walton
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