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DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
In Congress, July 4, 1776.
THE UXANIMOUS DECLARATION OF THE THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for Propriety of 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 Unalienable equal ; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalien- people, &c. able 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 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 Absolute ty. a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct
object of the object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. king of Great To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He bas refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and neces- Recitation of sary for the public good.
usurpations He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and on the part of pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation, till his the British 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 repository 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 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 endeavored to prevent the population of these states ; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration 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 transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences :
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 :
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 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.
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 among us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warsare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress Petitions for in the most humble terms : our repeated petitions have been answered redress una
vailing, &c. 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. Appeal to the We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legis- ple fruitless, lature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have &c. 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 connexions 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.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, Declaration in general congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the of Indepenworld 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 colonies the British crown, and that all political connexion between them and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and legiance, &c. 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 Mutual for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protec- pledge of fi
. tion of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
We, the people of the United States, in order to forın a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
ARTICLE 1.-SECTION 1.
1. All legislative powers herein granted, shall be vested in a con- Legislative gress of the United States, which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives.
ment of representa
1. The house of representatives shall be composed of members Members of chosen every second year by the people of the several states; and the presenta electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors those how of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.
2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained Qualifica. to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the bers of house United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of of representhat state in which he shall be chosen.
3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the Appportionseveral states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the tives. whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three; Massachusetts eight; Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one; Connecticut five; New York six ; New Jersey four; Pennsylvania eight; Delaware one; Maryland sis; Virginia ten; North Carolina five; South Carolina five; and Georgia three.
4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any state, Vacancies, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
5. The house of representatives shall choose their speaker and H. of rep. 10 other officers, and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
choose their officers power of im
1. The senate of the United States shall be composed of two sena- Senate, how tors from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years ; and each senator shall have one vote.