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THE encreasing interest which is felt in the Constitution of the United States, in consequence of the various constructions which have recently been given to some parts of it, and the discussions arising out of it, has induced the Publisher to prepare an edition of that admirable document in a cheap and convenient form. To this he has added the Declaration of Independence, which points out in clear and simple language the oppressions and evils experienced by our ancestors while subjected to the rule of the British Government, and suggests the reasons of many of the provisions in the Constitution of the United States. He has also embraced in this compilation, the Farewell Address of the beloved Hero and Statesman, WASHINGTON, to the people, in retiring from the Presidency; a document full of good sense, patriotism, and affectionate solicitude for the interests of our young and rising nation, containing an admirable commentary on our system of government, and warning the American citizen of many of the dangers with which our liberty might be threatened.
In arranging these three important state papers together, the Publisher has had in view the design of placing in the hands of our fellow-citizens a short and complete view of our republican system, in a form so cheap as to place it within the reach of every family, and thus enabling the old and the young, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laboring man, to examine for himself the great charter of his rights.
At this time, when so much difference of opinion exists in regard to points of constitutional law, it is right that the people should have the opportunity of judging for themselves; and it seems particularly proper that documents so important to the history of our government, and to the rights of the citizen, should be made accessible as well to persons in humble life, and of moderate circumstances, as to those who are able to purchase more expensive volumes.
A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled.
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. Pru
dence, 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.
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.