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Civil Government and Religion

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    APPENDIX C: THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

    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.CGRAS 161.1

    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 a 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 shown 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:—CGRAS 161.2

    He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.CGRAS 161.3

    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.CGRAS 161.4

    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:CGRAS 162.1

    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.CGRAS 162.2

    He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the people.CGRAS 162.3

    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 meantime, exposed to all the danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.CGRAS 162.4

    He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the laws for the naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.CGRAS 162.5

    He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.CGRAS 162.6

    He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.CGRAS 162.7

    He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.CGRAS 162.8

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislature.CGRAS 162.9

    He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to, the civil power.CGRAS 162.10

    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.CGRAS 162.11

    For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:CGRAS 162.12

    For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these States:CGRAS 162.13

    For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:CGRAS 162.14

    For imposing taxes on us without our consent:CGRAS 162.15

    For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:CGRAS 162.16

    For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:CGRAS 162.17

    For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring 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:CGRAS 162.18

    For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering, fundamentally, the powers of our governments:CGRAS 162.19

    For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.CGRAS 163.1

    He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.CGRAS 163.2

    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.CGRAS 163.3

    He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete 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.CGRAS 163.4

    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.CGRAS 163.5

    He has excited domestic insurrections among us, and has endeavored 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.CGRAS 163.6

    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.CGRAS 163.7

    Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts made 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 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.CGRAS 163.8

    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 the 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.CGRAS 163.9

    Massachusetts Bay. Connecticut.
    JOHN HANCOCK, ROGER SHERMAN,
    SAMUEL ADAMS, SAMUEL HUNTINGTON,
    JOHN ADAMS, WILLIAM WILLIAMS,
    ROBERT TREAT PAINE, OLIVER WOLCOTT.
    ELBRIDGE GERRY.
    Delaware. New Hampshire.
    JOSIAH BARTLETT, CAESAR RODNEY,
    WILLIAM WHIPPLE, GEORGE READ,
    MATTHEW THORNTON. THOMAS M’KEAN.
    Rhode Island. Maryland.
    STEPHEN HOPKINS, SAMUEL CHASE,
    WILLIAM ELLERY. WILLIAM PACA,
    THOMAS STONE,
    New York. CHARLES CARROLL,
    of Carrollton.
    WILLIAM FLOYD, Virginia.
    PHILIP LIVINGSTON,
    FRANCIS LEWIS, GEORGE WYTHE,
    LEWIS MORRIS. RICHARD HENRY LEE,
    THOMAS JEFFERSON,
    New Jersey. BENJAMIN HARRISON,
    THOMAS NELSON, JUN.,
    RICHARD STOCKTON, FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE,
    JOHN WITHERSPOON, CARTER BRAXTON.
    FRANCIS HOPKINSON,
    JOHN HART, North Carolina.
    ABRAHAM CLARK. WILLIAM HOOPER,
    JOSEPH HEWES,
    JOHN PENN.
    Pennsylvania.
    ROBERT MORRIS, South Carolina.
    BENJAMIN RUSH,
    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, EDWARD RUTLEDGE,
    JOHN MORTON, THOMAS HEYWARD, JUN.,
    GEORGE CLYMER, THOMAS LYNCH, JUN.,
    JAMES SMITH, ARTHUR MIDDLETON.
    GEORGE TAYLOR,
    JAMES WILSON, Georgia.
    GEORGE ROSS. BUTTON GWINNETT,
    LYMAN HALL,
    GEORGE WALTON.
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