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Declaration of Independence

SFP US History and Gov't
by

Mr. McLaughlin

on 20 September 2012

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Transcript of Declaration of Independence

Facts and the Meaning Declaration of Independence 1. The Declaration of Independence wasn't signed on July 4, 1776. That was the day the wording was approved by the delegates to the Continental Congress.

2. By the time the Declaration was written the United States had been at war with Great Britain for over a year.

3. Thomas Jefferson took on the duty of drafting the Declaration, asking John Adams and Benjamin Franklin for corrections. His 'rough draft' is in the Library of Congress.

4. The middle section of the Declaration is a list of grievances the colonies had against King George III or the British Parliament. The British people, on the other hand, were not held to be at fault.

5. John Hancock, as President of the Congress, signed first. It was jokingly said later that he wrote so large to make it easier for King George III to read Hancock's signature without his spectacles. Seven facts about the Declaration 6. The names of the signers, except for John Hancock's, whose name appeared on the Dunlap broadside, were kept secret until January 1777 to keep the signers safe from British reprisals.

7. The painting by John Trumbull called Declaration of Independence was commissioned by the U.S. Congress in 1817. Although many people think it commemorates the signing of the Declaration, its subject is the presentation of the final draft of the document to the Congress. A reproduction of the painting appears on the reverse of the two-dollar bill. The Declaration The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 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 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.

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 harrass 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 benefits 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 Brittish 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. ...uhh, what? MODERN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

The time has come for us to have our own separate nation - a nation that is ruled by no one but ourselves. This nation shall be equal to all others on Earth,. We believe this is the wish of God.

Because this is such an important decision, we feel strongly that everyone should know our reasons for making it.
We believe certain things to be true and that no one should question them: that all persons are created equal in God's sight; that God gives to all certain rights; that each person's rights must be respected and cannot be taken away for the use of another person. Among these rights are: the right to life itself; the right to enjoy the special liberties and privileges due us as property owners; the right to look for those things that will bring happiness.

We believe that governments are formed by people for the purpose of protecting God-given rights, and that governments receive all their power from the people.

We believe that when a government fails to protect people's rights, the people have the right to change the government. They may even take it apart and start over. Then they must carefully plan to form a new government that will truly work for the safety and happiness of all.

It is wise to remember that changing a government is a serious matter - especially if that government has been in power for many years. People grow used to it. We have seen through history that even when a government is bad, people often put up with it as long as they can instead of making changes. But a government may grow unfair and cruel. It may try to take all rights away from its people. If that happens, the people must act. It is their duty to end that kind of government. Then they must create a new and better government to protect their rights in times to come. What the Declaration
means: We have been patient, suffering a long time without complaining. Now it is our duty to make changes. This King of Great Britain, our present ruler, seems set on becoming even stronger. He has already tried to rule us completely, without listening to what our American leaders have to say. And we have proof of such evils. Here are the facts for the whole world to see:

The King has refused to sign laws that our American leaders have written - important laws that are needed for the good of the American people.

The King has controlled the judges in our courts. Judges must please the King in order to keep their jobs and earn a living. How fair can these judges be?

The King has ignored the laws and leadership of our American government. He and others have worked together to make their own set of laws. So now the Kings feels it is all right to: Force us to feed and house great numbers of his soldiers, allowing those soldiers to break laws - even murder people - without being punished; Stop us from trading with the rest of the world; Set up taxes that we must pay, although we have no say in the matter; Punish people without holding a fair trial first..

The King has seized our ships, burned our towns and killed our people

The King has already carried out many acts of war. Now he is sending in an army he has hired - foreign soldiers he is paying to keep up the killing and destruction. Is this the work of a civilized leader?

The King has caused trouble between slaves and their owners, stirring up the slaves to anger and violence. He is even trying to help the Indians in their wars against settlers in the wilderness.
Throughout our sufferings we have made our feelings known - politely and respectfully and things have only gotten worse. A power-hungry King who allows such suffering is unfit to rule. We have warned our friends and family members still in England about this trouble. We have asked them to remember why people came to America in the first place, hoping to turn them to our side. But it seems that neither their sense of fairness nor family ties is strong enough to change their minds. So they will be like foreigners to us - our enemies in war, our friends in peace.

Therefore, we, the Representatives of the United States of American look to God to judge our actions. We speak in the name of the good people of these colonies in making this declaration. We declare Great Britain no longer rules us - that because of our rights we ought to be free and independent states. Thus, we have all the powers of free states: the power to make war and peace, the power to draw up treaties, the power to carry on trade, and other such powers. We stand united in this declaration, trusting in God and pledging to each other our lives, our fortunes , and our sacred honor.
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