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We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident . . .
















Originally posted on July 3, 2008


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 in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a 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 the 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 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 Legislature.

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 the 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 in 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 Powers 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 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 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 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 the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Signed by ORDER and

Reader Comments (16)

The last line always gives me goosebumps. I think most Americans are pretty unaware of what signing that document cost those men. Many did lose their lives and fortunes, but not their honor.

July 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDSY
My local newspaper, The Pittsburgh Tribune Review prints the Declaration each 4 July in their Opinion/Commentary page, along with a section from David McCullough's (a Pittsburgh native) book, "1776". It's a great reminder of our heritage and those who really fought for this country.
July 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Malamisuro
OMG! Did you write that?
July 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCalvin
There are still some of us, who along with many Christians at the time of the Revolutionary War, still think that the Revolution was an immoral and unjust war on the part of the states. Some of the exaggerations in the Declaration make me laugh, and some of the history behind its making makes me chuckle. I can't even agree whole-heartedly with the political philosophy expressed in it. My intention is not to anger people, but rather to make them re-evaluate the war and the people involved. I even heard one Presbyterian minister who seemed to be praising the Declaration of Independence say that the war did seem to be unjust.

But you don't have to worry about this today; enjoy your barbecue and fireworks.
July 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto
I do enjoy fireworks and bbq, but I enjoy freedom from tyranny far more. I thank God that these men stood for freedom, at the peril of their own lives. Yet pray for this country, that God may grant her repentance, because the tyranny of sin is far worse.
July 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjfranklin6
We are still citizens of this passing away kingdom, for most of us, the USA. I was not commenting on the justness of the war nor suggesting this is a 'Christian' nation (I don't think it is). I would not perform patriotic tributes in church, etc., However, I think it is fine to recognize that the place we live has a certain political heritage and certain ideas which bind the nation together.
July 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Malamisuro
It is a great honor, bestowed on us by our Creator, to live in this great land. Having served in the Marine Corps, I would have died to protect the rights of all those who live here, and which were purchased at a great price by those who signed this great document and those who died to win its declarations. May God bless America.
July 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
The most striking thing about this document, reading it in 2010, is the vast gap between the intellect and grasp of history and political philosophy that exists between the founding fathers and those leading our country today. Sheesh! Those old guys could write!
July 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbil
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Corinthians 3:17.

Oh say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Right now, I'd answer that question with a resounding "No!" and and resounding "Yes!" It depends not on the times, nor on the place. It depends on the person. I don't think there is a "land of the free," except in heaven. Never was anyplace the land of the free, except heaven.

Freedom is not measured by whether or not your president's name is General George Washington.

Freedom is measured by whether or not the Spirit of the Lord is in you. Always was, always will be.
July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Appendix to last comment:

It appears from 2 Corinthians 3:17 that the only "land of the free" is the soil under the two feet of a Christian.
July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Romans 13:1-2

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."

Is it a possible deduction from this verse that those who signed this Declaration of Independence put much more than their lives, fortunes and honor at risk, but also put their eternal souls at risk?
July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Happy 4th of July to all of you "rebels" south of the 49th. I always find it amusing that what you call the "War of Independence" we Canadians learned in history class as "the Revolutionary War." That being said, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is way more inspiring than "peace, order and good government"... not that either of our countries enjoy much of either these days.

God bless my fellow sojourners and citizens of 2 kingdoms!
July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRonR
I've been reading and re-reading the declaration of independence for a couple of weeks, surprised by "the facts" and find them ironic given where we are today.

Alberto, you've piqued my interest, will have to read more.

RonR, very interesting contrast!

And since we're on the subject of liberty ...

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few … No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." – James Madison April 20, 1795
July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRana

So then we should observe that Christian John Adams did not see war as the solution to the tyranny being assaulted on the common folk.

Is it any more a solution today?
July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
John Adams was not a Christian.
July 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark
Actually...I should clarify. John Adams believed in "god" - but was not a Christian by any standard any of us would accept, seeing as how he was a Unitarian (and was so by conviction...not by ignorance).
July 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark

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