Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence
Action of Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776
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 fi rmness 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

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