In Congress, July 4th, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

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 refuted 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.

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 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 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 imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring 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 compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & 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 amongst us, and has endeavoured 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.

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.

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 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 of 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, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by 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.

–John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

19 thoughts on “In Congress, July 4th, 1776”

  1. Happy Fourth of July! Thanks to all those great men that made this Nation possible!

    8:00 A.M and is raining like hell in P. Pines!… 🙁

  2. RED, WHITE & BLUE BLOGGING

    The Cotillion’s July 4th gala is up. Dan at GayPatriot gives the History Channel’s documentary series, The American Revolution, two thumbs up. Power Line remembers the heroes of Gettysburg Day 2. Joe Guzzardi has Reflections For Independence Day: Adams…

  3. CB, George, Roberto, Val:
    THANK YOU for sharing this nation with me. Your courage and drive in opposing Castro and other enemies of America make me feel more hopeful about our future.

  4. Dave,
    Thanks to you, to this Nation and to all our fellow Americans, be them by choice or birth for allowing us to call ourselves Americans and do our best for this country. It’s my pleasure and my pride to see the Old Glory raise every day. I am very grateful for the freedom and the space that I have found here. I am very grateful for the oportunity that I have to contribute to this society with my work. I feel very humbled any time that I hear the anthem or that I see the flag raising in the morning.
    Thanks, Dave, for your thankfulness. Thanks for accepting us as full fledge Americans.

  5. Happy Independence Day!

    This is what it’s all about, folks…

    4th of July Blog Round-Up:

    Michelle Malkin
    The Cotillion
    GayPatriot
    Power Line
    Joe Guzzardi
    Babalu Blog
    Power Line
    The Conservative Man
    The Noonz Wire
    A Layman’s Point of View
    La Shawn Barber
    A F

  6. What a giant brave step this declaration was for mankind. Reading it always gives me goosebumps. God Bless America! Happy Fourth Of July everyone.

  7. Happy Independence Day America!

    Signing of the Declaration of Independence, painting by John Trumbull in U.S. Capitol

    What started it all!
    The Declaration of Indpendence (The Stone engraving):

    Click here for a Larger Image and for Higher Resolution Images.
    Drafted by Thomas …

  8. Reading it, doesn’t it just totally resonate? We see this same garbage George III was pulling over in Venezuela, in Ecuador, in Mexico, and above all, in Cuba. No wonder people revolt and stand up for their rights. It’s what we did. It’s what we are. It’s why we are doing what we are. We are the ultimate revolutionaries and this is why, this document, this. Now let’s support the others. Everyone should read this document today and think about the world’s First Revolution once more.

  9. “Everyone should read this document today and think about the world’s First Revolution once more.”

    Um, while I agree completely with those sentiments, my lawyerly nature compels me to nitpick that the “world’s First revolution” in any modern understanding of the term would more probably be the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the one that kicked out James II and established parliamentary supremacy over the crown in England, that wrote the English Bill of Rights–and that the colonists here in what became the US were attempting to vindicate.

  10. I’d really rather not get into too much of an argument over semantics, but it’s not “the first one that counted,” because, in many senses, the American Revolution was one of several high points in a 200-plus-year continuous constitutional upheaval within what we’d now call the “Anglosphere,” starting with the English Civil War in the 1640’s and ending with the American Civil War (see Kevin Phillips’ The Cousins’ Wars). It’s precisely because it did NOT attempt to completely reorder the world as if from scratch, but rested in part of upon abuses against the traditional “rights of Englishmen” going back in part to Magna Carta and even earlier, that Edmund Burke so ardently supported the American Revolution and so vigorously opposed the French one, and his Reflections on the Revolution in France is one of the wellsprings of modern conservatism as a coherent political philosophy.

    Driving the Stuarts from the English throne–not once but twice, or indeed four times if you count stopping their return in 1715 and again in 1745– can hardly be said not to count. They were supporters of divine-right absolutism and (since they were Scots) traditional allies of France. If 1688 had never happened, it’s hard to see how 1776 would have ever been possible.

  11. What a great declaration was made by these colonist and even more importantly, what a great spirit they embodied forever known as the spirit of 1776. The great thing is that 229 years later that spirit is alive and strong. The sad thing is that unfortunately many have either lost it or never discovered it. Those founding fathers who lead the way for the creation of a new breed of man, will forever have our sincere gratitude. So here is to that spirit of 1776, and for its spreading around the world to all of the places people may suffer from the denial of God’s greatest gift. The great patriot Thomas Paine wrote- “though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.” Amen!

  12. I wonder, sometimes, if it would not have been better for the English to keep Cuba, having taken Havana in 1762, instead of returning it to Spain a year later…the Cuban people might have been then more easily (and happily) “infected” by the American revolutionaries in 1776, as both lands would by then have had a common enemy. The rest, as they say, COULD have been history.

  13. My civics teacher in high school once said that America’s failure to make Cuba a state in 1898 was one of the biggest mistakes in our foreign policy. Perhaps, perhaps not.

    What I’d really like to state here is that our countrymen fought against some of the worst injustices possible at the time, i.e. the ones forfeiting the actual lives of the colonists. But there are other offenses in this document worth conisdering. I don’t think the Founders would have been keen on the fact that 40% of my paycheck goes to the government.

    “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

  14. Gracias for posting the Declaration.
    just two obsevations:
    John Adams, unlike the slave-banging hypocrite Jefferson, didn’t believe ‘all men are created equal’ rather he believed we are all born with Equal Rights.
    Benjamin Rush, the preeminent physician from Pensy(surgen general status)was the principal advocate for Purging (bleeding a patient back to health) that’s the same quack who bled Washington to death

  15. Happy Birthday America…

    “United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.” – Patrick Henry Did you know that America’s birthday is actually 1783, not 1776? It wasn’t until…

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