The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
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.
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 shown
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.
necessary for the public good.
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.
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.
uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their
public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into
compliance with his measures.
opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of
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 meantime
exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and
states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for
naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to
encourage their migration 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.
tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither
swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies
without the consent of our legislature.
superior to civil power.
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 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
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a
neighboring 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
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring
themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of
his protection and waging war against us.
our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
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 of 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.
endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the
merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is
undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and
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.
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.
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 levey 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