Small islands not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something very absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island



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Small islands not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something very absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island. In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet, and as England and America, with respect to each other, reverses the common order of nature, it is evident they belong to different systems: England to Europe, America to itself.

I am not induced by motives of pride, party, or resentment to espouse the doctrine of separation and independence; I am clearly, positively, and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true interest of this continent to be so; that every thing short of that is mere patchwork, that it can afford no lasting felicity, — that it is leaving the sword to our children, and shrinking back at a time, when, a little more, a little farther, would have rendered this continent the glory of the earth.

Nature’s law dictates that small islands should be governed by large kingdoms; it’s absurd to have a small island forever ruling over a whole continent. It’s never the case that a moon is bigger than the planet it orbits. The relationship between England and America, then, reverses the order that we see everywhere else in nature, the natural law. England, then, and America must belong to different systems.
I’m not motivated by pride, bitterness, or any other political motivation to push for America’s separation from England, its independence. I really and thoughtfully am convinced that it’s in the best and most logical interest of America to be independent. Every other fix is only a patch, not a solution, and won’t promote any lasting happiness. If we do that, we’re leaving a conflict for our children to solve, and we are cowering away from the problem, when a courageous step forward would make America the glory of the Earth.

Youth is the seed-time of good habits as well in nations as in individuals. It might be difficult, if not impossible, to form the Continent into one government half a century hence. The vast variety of interests, occasioned by an increase of trade and population, would create confusion. Colony would be against colony. Each being able would scorn each other's assistance; and while the proud and foolish gloried in their little distinctions the wise would lament that the union had not been formed before. Wherefore the present time is the true time for establishing it. The intimacy which is contracted in infancy, and the friendship which is formed in misfortune, are of all others the most lasting and unalterable. Our present union is marked with both these characters; we are young, and we have been distressed; but our concord hath withstood our troubles, and fixes a memorable era for posterity to glory in.

We form good habits when we’re young, and so do nations. If we wait fifty years, then it will be difficult, and probably impossible to make the colonies on this continent into one government. There are already huge differences in the colonies’ interests; these differences will only grow as the trade networks and populations in the separate colonies increase. As they become more self-sufficient, they will try to make themselves more independent, and that patriotism and pride that will develop will not be greater than the regret the colonies feel for not having joined together earlier. That’s why the present is the best and only time for the colonies to join together. Your best, most honest friends are those you make when you’re young, or those with whom you’ve endured some hardship or challenged; these above all are the most lasting friendships. Our colonies has the same characteristics: we are young, and we have gone through hardships together, but our agreements have withstood these challenges, and these challenges will make this era one we, and out children can look back on fondly, and with glorious remembrance.

I have heard it asserted by some, that as America has flourished under her former connection with Great Britain, the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But even this is admitting more than is true; for I answer roundly that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power taken any notice of her. The commerce by which she hath enriched herself are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe.

Some people say that America has done well while being connected with England, and that connection will always have a positive effect and is needed if America is going to be happy in the future. This is the most false argument possible. You might as well say that because a baby drinks milk when he’s young, that a human being should never start eating hard food, or that the way you behave when you are a child and an adolescent are the same as the way you behave when you are an adult. That’s ridiculous! Even if we were to concede that, though, we would still be kidding ourselves. America would have been just as prosperous, if not more so, if it weren’t connected to any European country, like Great Britain. Those things America exports and sells to Europe are things necessary to survival, and America will always be successful, because Europe will always need the goods America can export.

The authority of Great Britain over this continent, is a form of government, which sooner or later must have an end: And a serious mind can draw no true pleasure by looking forward, under the painful and positive conviction that what he calls "the present constitution" is merely temporary. As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly, we should take our children in our hand, and fix our station a few years farther into life; that eminence will present a prospect which a few present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight.

England’s rule over America is not sustainable. And so, anyone with half a brain can’t look into the future happily just by saying to herself that at some point this rule over America will end. For our children’s sake, we can have no joy saying that we’ve created a system that will fail our descendants. Look, honestly, we are setting up a system that will fail those who come after us, so we ought to do the work to fix it, or else we are crudely and wretchedly failing them. To know what to do, imagine the future with your children, when you look further forward, on their lives instead of the present moment, all the political arguments and disagreements and petty difference that are debating this question [of independence] now will fade out of sight, and then we’ll know what to do.

MANKIND being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance: the distinctions of rich and poor may in a great measure be accounted for, and that without having recourse to the harsh ill-sounding names of oppression and avarice. Oppression is often the CONSEQUENCE, but seldom or never the MEANS of riches; and tho' avarice will preserve a man from being necessitously poor, it generally makes him too timorous to be wealthy.

But there is another and great distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of Heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.

Since every person is born the equal of everyone else, inequality only comes from something that happens as part of the world, not part of who we are as people. For instance, the differences between great in poor are one of those inequalities, and we have to consider that without calling it “the oppression of the rich” or the “greed of the poor.” Oppression most often happens because the rich are in power; it’s not the thing that makes them rich. And greed is a way the poor try to escape poverty, but usually poverty makes someone too conservative and prudent in their decisions to have them be wealthy.


That said, there’s another distinction between groups of people, one that’s not natural, nor god-given: the distinction between kings and the subjects. Men and women are different by nature, heaven accounts for people’s good or bad character, but there’s no reason that one race or group of people has by birth received such as different set of advantageous as the aristocracy and king. They are treated almost as though they are a different type of animal. We should figure out how this happened, and see whether this class is helping humanity or causing it more misery.

Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offences of Great Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to call out, "Come, come, we shall be friends again for all this." But examine the passions and feelings of mankind: bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me whether you can hereafter love, honour, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all these, then are you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon posterity. Your future connection with Britain, whom you can neither love nor honour, will be forced and unnatural, and being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than the first. But if you say, you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not, then are you not a judge of those who have. But if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers, then are you unworthy the name of husband, father, friend or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant.



A lot of nice people look at what England has done to the U.S. and, because they hope to keep the peace, say “It’s not so bad; this will all work out in the end. But look at human nature: can you honestly say that you’d be able to put aside your emotions and then love, and serve, and be faithful to someone who has come to your land and brought bloodshed into it? You can’t, and if you say you can you are lying to yourself and bringing further destruction on your descendants. Your connection with England is bound to be a forced friendship, unnatural, and—because it’s made only on immediate conveniences—will soon become even worse than it was before. If you still insist this will all work out, then think about what’s happened. Has your home ever been burnt? Has your property been destroyed? Are you families ever in suffering or need? Have you ever lost a loved one, leaving you miserable and alone? You can’t judge people who’ve been through these things, can you? But if you have, and you still are friends with the murders, then you are unworthy of the name of father, friend husband, or whatever your title is in life. You are a coward, and it’s your nature to crawl in front of the powerful.


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