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THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, by the
Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in Congress assembled.
THURSDAY July 4, 1776.
WHEN, in the course of human events, it becomes necesary for one people to diffolve
mong the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal ttation to which the laws of natüre and of nature's GOD entitle then, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. ; We bold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal ; that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable righes; thar among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their juft powers from the coníent of the governed ; that whene. ter any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to infitute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in fuch form, as to them shall seem most likely to effeet their safety and happiness.' Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that goveroinents long established, should not be changed for light and tranfiere causes ; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more difpofed to fufir, while eviis are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the farms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abufes and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a de. lign to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their righ:, it is their duty, to throw off fuch government, and to provide new gvards for their fucure security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and Auch is now the necesity which constrains them to alter their former fyftems 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 establishmeat of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his affent to laws the most wholefome and neceffary for the public good. He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate anú piesling importance, un. less fuspended in their operation till his affent should be obtained; and when to 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 ineftimable 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 diffolutions, 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 cime, 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 obftructed the administration of justice, by refufing his assent to laws for establithing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of theit offices, and the *amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to hartafs 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 conftitution, 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 hould commit on the inhabitants of these states :
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world :
For abolishing the free fyftem of English laws in a neighbouring province, elablish ing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at sace an exampie and fit inftrument for introduceing the fame absolute rule into these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our moft valuable laws, and altering fundasilentally the forms of our governments :
For suspending our own legislajures, and declaring themselves invested with power to le. gitlate for us in all cales whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging War against us.
He has plundered our feas, 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 complete the svorks of death, defolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely parallelled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized pation.
He has constrained our fellow-citizens, 'taken captive on the high feas, 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 amont us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an andistinguished destruction, of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
In every stage of these oppreffions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated petitions have been anfwered 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 setdlement 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 connexions and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the foice of judice and of consanguinity. We muft, therefore, acquiesce in the neceffity, which denounces our separation, and hold thenr; as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, ia peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS afsembled, appealing to the fupreme judge of the world for the re&itude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of í hese colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of tight ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are a violved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between ahem 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,
nslude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things :lich INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the fupport of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, *e inutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our facred honour.
The foregoing declaration was by order of Congress engrossed and ligned by the members from the referal Print States
A R T ICL E S
New Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Isand and Pro-
na, South-Carolina and Georgia. ARTICLE I. THE file of this confederacy fhall be “ The United States Confederacy.
Stile of the
THE of America."
Art. II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, Sovereignty
and Indepenand every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this contederation ex
dence of tha pressly delegated to the United States, in Congress afl'embled.
respective ART. I. The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of States. friendship with each other, for their common detence, the security of their li. berties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themfelves to affilteach Design of the other, againt all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, Confederation account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever. on, as it reART. IV. The better to secure and perpetunte mutual friendship and in Sards com:
mon security, tercourse among the people of the different itates in this union, the free inhabitants of each of these Itates, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice ex
Social and cépred, thall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the
mutual interleveral l'ates ; and the people of each state shall have free ingrefs and regress to course among and from any other state, and thall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and the States, commerce, futject to the same duties, impositions and reltrictions as the inhabi.' laats thereof relpeeti:ely, provided that such refiriction hall not extend so far. as to prevent the removal of property imported into any itare, to any other state of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction thall be laid by any itate, on the property of the United States, or either of theni.
If any person guilty of, of charged with treason, felony, or other high misde. meaaor in any state, thall ficc from jultice, and be found in any of the United States, he ihall upon demand of the Governor, or executive power, of the state from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the state having jurisdiction of his offence,
Full iaith and credit ihall be given in each of these states to the records, acts and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other itate.
Manner of Art. v. For the more convenient management of the general interests constituting of the United States, delegates Thall be annually appointed in luch manner as the Congress the legislature of each date hail direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday of the tates,
with the quain November, in every year, with a power reserved to each state, to recall its
lifications & delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in
privileges of their stead, for the remainder of the year.
the Delegatos No state thall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor by more than seven members ; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years, in any term of fix years; nor shall any person being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit receives any falary, fees or emolument of any kind,
EACH ftate shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the ftates, and while they act as members of the committee of the fates.
In determining questions in the United States, in Congress assembled, each ftate shall have one vote.
FREEDOM of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or quere
tioned in any court, or place cut of Congress, and the members of Congress fall be protected in their persons from arrests and imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance on Congress, except for trea
Son, felony, or breach of the peace. Restraints ART. VI. No state without the consent of the United States'.in Congress upon the re. assembled, Ihall send any embaffy to, or receive any embafly from, or enter inparate States.
to any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty with any king, prince or state ; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States or any of them, accept of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any king, prince or foreign stare ; nor shall the United States ia Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.
No two or more ftates-fall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be enter. ed into, and how long it hall continue.
No state shall lay any imports or duties, which may interfere with any ftipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any king, prince or state, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.
No vesels of war shall be kepr up in time of peace by any state, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congresa affembled, for the defence of such state, or its trade ; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any state, in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgment of the United States, in Congress asembled, shall be deemed requifite to garrison che forts necessary for the defence of such state ; but every ftate shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, fufficiently armed and accoutred, and hall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
No Hate fall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress aflembled, unless fuch fate be actually invaded by enemies, or fail have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such state, and the danger is so eminent as not to admit of a delay, till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted : nor fall any state grant commiflions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in Con. grefs assembled, and then only against the kingdom or itaie and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such state
be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted put for that Mixt Rights occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, or until the United of Congress States in Congress atrembled shall determine otherwise,
ART. VII. When land-forces are raised by any state for the common defence, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, mall be appointed by the legislature of each state respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in
such manner as such state shall direct, and all vacancies Mall be filled up by the Manner of state which first made the appointment. defraying Art. VIII. All charges of war, and all other expences that shall be public Ex
incurred for the common defence or general welfare, and allowed by the Uni. pences.
ted States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several states, in proportion to the value of all land within each itate, granted to or surveyed for any person, as such' land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled, shall from time to time dia
rect and appoint. The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied Powers of
by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several states within the congress.
time agreed upon by the United States in Congress affembled..
ART. IX. The United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the
cases mentioned in the fixth article---of fending and receiving ambassadors.om entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective states thall be reftrained from impofing such im posts and duties on foreigners, as their own peopie are subjected to, or from prohibiting the 'exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever---of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water Thall be legal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the United Scates thall be divided or appropriated--- of granting letters of marque and reprisal in times of peace---appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of Congreis hall be appoioted a judge of any of the said couris,
The United States in Congress assembled shall also be the laft resort on appezl in all disputes and differences now sublifting, or that hereafter may arise.com between two or more fates concerning boundary, jurisdiction, or any other caule whatever ; which authority shall always be exercised in the manner fol. lowing: -..Whenever the legislative or executive authority or lawful agent of any itate in controverly with another thall present a petition to congress Itaring the matter in queition, and praying for a hearing, notice thereof shall be given, by order of Congress, to the legislative or executive authority of the other state in controversy, and a day assigned for the appearance of the parties by their lawful agents, who shall then be directed to appoint, by joint confent, commiflioners or judges to conftitute a court for hearing and determining the matter in question ; but if they cannot agree, Congress fhall name three persons out of each of the United States, and from the lit of such persons each party Ihall al. ternately strike out one, the petitioners beginning, until the number
. shall be reduced to thirteen; and from that number not lets than seven, nor more than nine names, as Congress shall direct, fhall, in the presence of the Congress, be drawn out by lor; and the persons whose names shall be so drawn, or any five of them, thall be commisjoners or judges, to hear and finally determine the controveriy, so always as a major part of the judges who fail hear the cause shall agree in the decermination : And if either party thall negled to attend at the d.y appointed, without shewing reasons, which Congress shall judge sufficient, or being present shall refuse to strike, the Congress fhall proceed to nominate three persons out of each state, and the secretary of Congress shall strike in be. half of such party absent or refusing ; and the judgment and sentence of the court to be appointed, in the manner before prescribed, shall be final and conclufive; and if any of the parties shall refuse to submit to the authority of such court, or to appear to defead their claim or cause, the court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence, or judgment, which shall in like manner be fi, hal and decisive, the judgment or sentence and other proceedings being in cither case transmitted to Congress, and lodged among the acts of Congress for the security of the parties concerned : provided that every commissioner, before he fits in judgment, fhall take an oath to be administred by one of the judges of the sapreme or saperior court of the state, where the cause shall be tried, " well and truly to hear and determine the matter in question, according to the best of his judgment, without favour, affection or hope of reward:” provided also that no tate shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United Kates.
All controverfies concerning the private right of soil claimed under different frants of two or more ftates, whose jurisdi&tions
as they may respect such lands, and the states which passed luch grants are adjusted, the said grants or either of: them being at the same time claimed to have originated antecedent to fuck settlement of jurisdiction, hall on the petition of either party to the Congress, of, the United States, be finally determined as near as may be in the same manner us is before prescribed for deciding disputes respecting territorial jurisdi&ion, between different fates.
Tus United Sates in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclu.