Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: 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.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

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

Massachusetts: John Hancock

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

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

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

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

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

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

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple

Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

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

New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton

Does anything more need to be said?

Published in History
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  1. Rodin Member

    Seawriter:

    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.

    Embedded within the Declaration is the standard by which political bonds are to be loosed: a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism…. It is the burden of today’s counter revolutionaries to demonstrate how their insurrection meets this standard. For they are doing nothing less that overthrowing a government and a system established by the consent of the governed. Either that consent has been perverted (and thus a duty to “throw off such Government”) or they simply do not accept a system that has majority consent (insurrection). The counterrevolutionaries have the burden to explain.

     

    • #1
    • July 4, 2020, at 6:33 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. JoelB Member

    “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind.”

    I pray that this may return to the discourse of today. It has been gone so long.

    • #2
    • July 4, 2020, at 6:34 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Now, that’s a Quote of the Day! We have plenty of openings this month. Come sign up to share your own favorite or appropriate quotation.

    • #3
    • July 4, 2020, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Full Size Tabby Member

    I encourage people to ponder the list of specific grievances.

    • #4
    • July 4, 2020, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    As Joe Biden would say, this is the thing.

    • #5
    • July 4, 2020, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Judge Mental Member

    Inalienable.

    • #6
    • July 4, 2020, at 7:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Inalienable.

    They cut it off too soon. Adams’ next line is “I’ll speak to the printer about it later.”

    • #7
    • July 4, 2020, at 7:50 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. Bob Wainwright Member

    Seawriter: the merciless Indian Savages

    Watch out… Just because you’re quoting someone else doesn’t get you off the hook.

     

    • #8
    • July 4, 2020, at 7:54 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Seawriter: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

    Originally, this was “life, liberty and property”, but the abolitionists among the drafters thought that was empowering to the slavery advocates. This was changed to “pursuit of happiness”. This is an idea the comes from Hutchinson and the Scottish Enlightenment. Here, “happiness” is not our modern idea of individual pleasure, but instead the idea of fulfilling God’s plan for oneself to improve the lives of others. True happiness comes from satisfaction of using one’s talents to help others and create societal happiness. Read more here and here.

    • #9
    • July 4, 2020, at 8:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  10. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Seawriter: …the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    If you ever go to Mount Vernon they show an outstanding short film about Washington. The beginning of this trailer illustrates Washington’s experience on the frontier during the French and Indian war. Remember, scalping was a method, not a trophy.

    • #10
    • July 4, 2020, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. Randy Webster Member

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Seawriter: …the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    If you ever go to Mount Vernon they show an outstanding short film about Washington. The beginning of this trailer illustrates Washington’s experience on the frontier during the French and Indian war. Remember, scalping was a method, not a trophy.

    I’ve been listening to Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. According to him, scalping was a trophy. If I’m reading him correctly, a scalplock was a tuft of hair left on an otherwise bald head to give the enemy killing one a trophy.

    • #11
    • July 4, 2020, at 10:14 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I’ve been listening to Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales. According to him, scalping was a trophy. If I’m reading him correctly, a scalplock was a tuft of hair left on an otherwise bald head to give the enemy killing one a trophy.

    There are contemporaneous accounts during the colonial period of victims who were merely wounded being killed by being scalped. A strong man with a sharp knife often took much more than a lock, hence calling them savages, and not because they were unchurched.

    • #12
    • July 4, 2020, at 10:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Randy Webster Member

    PJ O’Rourke says that the governments in general, and the Federal government in particular, treat us much worse than King George did.

    • #13
    • July 4, 2020, at 10:44 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Judge Mental Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    PJ O’Rourke says that the governments in general, and the Federal government in particular, treat us much worse than King George did.

    “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”

    George could only dream.

    • #14
    • July 4, 2020, at 11:13 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. JoshuaFinch Coolidge

    Seawriter: that all men are created equal

    To have been created equal means you believe in a Creator, a doubtful proposition for the Left. We are only equal in the sense that all of our souls come from God. Take God out of the picture and there is no equality, no accountability, and brute force rules.

    • #15
    • July 4, 2020, at 3:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Randy Webster Member

    I think it’s possible to have a secular rule of law. But it has to be a true rule of law, not what we have now.

    • #16
    • July 4, 2020, at 3:58 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. JoshuaFinch Coolidge

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    If you accept this document, you must accept that our rights are endowed by our Creator, who happens to be God.

    • #17
    • July 4, 2020, at 4:03 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Randy Webster Member

    Oh, I agree with you. I just think the other is possible.

    • #18
    • July 4, 2020, at 4:06 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Full Size Tabby Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I think it’s possible to have a secular rule of law. But it has to be a true rule of law, not what we have now.

    But there’s actually a decent philosophical question that having a true secular rule of law still depends on a majority of the population believing that there is a higher being to whom they are answerable. Can a society that believes everything is purely material (i.e., no higher power) really maintain a true rule of law? I’m not sure it can. 

    • #19
    • July 4, 2020, at 4:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Rodin Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I think it’s possible to have a secular rule of law. But it has to be a true rule of law, not what we have now.

    But there’s actually a decent philosophical question that having a true secular rule of law still depends on a majority of the population believing that there is a higher being to whom they are answerable. Can a society that believes everything is purely material (i.e., no higher power) really maintain a true rule of law? I’m not sure it can.

    I agree. As a consequence, although personally agnostic, I take comfort in believers and hope their number are great and growing.

    • #20
    • July 4, 2020, at 5:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like