[I have edited this to reflect the current status of our lives. Most everything else remains in tact as the original words of our Founders.]
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 United States; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present Government of America 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.
- They have refused Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
- They have forbidden Governors & State legislators to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till the Government’s Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, they have utterly neglected to attend to them.
- The President has gone around our Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
- They have made Judges dependent on their Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
- The President and the Congress has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
- They have affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power through different legislation passed in recent years.
- They have combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving their Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
- For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
- For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury, through such Legislation as the National Defense Authorization Act:
- 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. Evident with the case of Arizona and their immigration policy.
- He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Muslim Brotherhood, 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 Government whose character is thus marked by every act which may define Tyrants, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Washington brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. 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 United States, solemnly publish and declare, That these United States are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Federal Government, and that all political connection between them and the Government in Washington, 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.
Craig R. Bowden, Elizabeth Waltrip
Jeffrey Frank, Theresa Phillabaum
Adrielle Goodwin, Jack Goodwin