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THE WORDS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 3, 2015

BRYCE ON OUR NATIONAL HOLIDAY

– Time to remember why our country sought independence from Great Britain.

Communications were understandably slow in 1776. Couriers on horseback would deliver messages by hand. There were no electronics, and no real signal corps. Morse code wouldn’t be invented for another sixty years. Not surprising, it could take days or weeks for messages to be received between parties during the Revolutionary War.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4th, the Congress would sign the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration explained the rationale for breaking ties with Britain. The president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, ordered a copy rushed to General Washington who was stationed in New York making preparations to defend the city from the British. Washington eagerly awaited the Declaration as he wanted to communicate to his troops exactly why they sought independence. The General finally received the Declaration on July 6th. He then ordered his troops to assemble in lower Manhattan on July 9th at 6:00pm where his regimental commanders read the Declaration to the troops and citizens assembled. They found the words so stirring, a group raced down Broadway toward a large statue of King George III where they toppled and decapitated it. They later melted down the statue for much needed bullets.

From time to time, we need to be reminded of the importance of this document. As such, I present it in its entirety:

The Declaration of Independence

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.

(signees)

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

Delaware:
– Caesar Rodney
– George Read
– Thomas McKean

Georgia:
– Button Gwinnett
– Lyman Hall
– George Walton

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

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

New Hampshire:
– Josiah Bartlett
– William Whipple
– Matthew Thornton

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

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

North Carolina:
– William Hooper
– Joseph Hewes
– John Penn

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

Rhode Island:
– Stephen Hopkins
– William Ellery

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

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

Source: The National Archives

By signing their names to this declaration, these men essentially put their lives in jeopardy. Very bold, very risky.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  OUR 1964 PLYMOUTH VALIANT – Remembering our first automobile.
LAST TIME:  THE MUCKRAKING HAS BEGUN  – The political mud slinging has already begun.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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3 Responses to “THE WORDS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE”

  1. Chris Payne said

    Nice!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  2. Chris Payne said

    You’ve gone too far!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] THE WORDS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE […]

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