et revelabitur quasi aqua iudicium et iustitia quasi torrens fortis
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
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
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 [George III]
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 m
eantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions
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
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 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
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
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
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring
with power to legislate for us in all cases
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 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
legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.
We have reminded them of the circumstances of our
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
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
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
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.
The signers of the Declaration represented the new States as follows: