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231 Years Ago...

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.

Samuel Huntington
Roger Sherman
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

Thomas McKean
George Read
Caesar Rodney

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone

John Adams
Samuel Adams
John Hancock
Elbridge Gerry
Robert Treat Paine

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
Matthew Thornton
William Whipple

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

New York:
William Floyd
Francis Lewis
Philip Livingston
Lewis Morris

North Carolina:
Joseph Hewes
William Hooper
John Penn

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

Rhode Island:
William Ellery
Stephen Hopkins

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

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


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Comments (40)

You're talking about "King"... (Below threshold)

You're talking about "King" George Bush of course? Amazing how so many of those fit him to a tee.

These words, these men, thi... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

These words, these men, this revolutionary document will surely feel quite strange to most of the Wizbangers who daily submit, worship and defend our current incompetent, criminal "King George"

New Englanders had been fig... (Below threshold)

New Englanders had been fighting Britain since April 1775. The first motion in the Continental Congress for independence was made on June 4, 1776. After hard debate, the Congress voted unanimously, but secretly, for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 2 (see Lee Resolution). The Congress reworked the text of the Declaration until a little after eleven o'clock, July 4, when the twelve colonies voted for adoption and released a copy signed only by John Hancock, President of the Congress, to the printers. (The New York delegation abstained from both votes.) Philadelphia celebrated the Declaration with public readings and bonfires on July 8. Not until August 2 would a fair printing be signed by the members of the Congress, but even that was kept secret to protect the members from British reprisals.

John Adams, credited by Thomas Jefferson as the unofficial, tireless whip of the independence-minded, wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Adams was off by two days, however. Certainly, the vote on July 2 was the decisive act. But July 4, 1776 is the date on the Declaration itself. Jefferson's stirring prose, as edited by the Congress, was first adopted by the July 4th vote. It was also the first day Philadelphians heard the official news of independence from the Continental Congress, as opposed to rumors in the street about secret votes.

Rating: 4.2/5 (5 v... (Below threshold)
Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)

Some people would even vote against the Declaration of Independence. Sigh.

Thanks! We needed that!... (Below threshold)

Thanks! We needed that!

"You're talking about "King... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

"You're talking about "King" George Bush of course? Amazing how so many of those fit him to a tee."

Tell you what JFO, why don't you back that extraordinary claim up. Cut and paste the list of enumerated grievances, and under each one give a SPECIFIC example of our President emulating it.

If you are unclear on the concept, the enumerated grievances are those starting with the word "He" or "For."

I doubt that you can find examples for more than a tenth of them, and that most of those examples will be strained -- or one with the recent report that Iraqi police beheaded 20 suspected insurectionists.

The signatures of this docu... (Below threshold)

The signatures of this document are without a doubt the bravest of the brave. They know they have signed their death warrant. The thought into this document was not done in a flippant or cavilier way, such as the libbies comments. Thanks JT, for this reminder of an actual profile in courage. ww

If I am not mistaken, most ... (Below threshold)

If I am not mistaken, most of these men did in fact 'loose their fortunes'.

How many would be willing to do that today?

taz, many today would be wi... (Below threshold)

taz, many today would be willing to TAKE your fortune (or prevent you from making one) in the name of [pick any of all]:
- universal Health "Care"
- Global Warming
- stem-cell research
- etc...

"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
Hillary Clinton, June 28, 2004

"We hold these truths to be... (Below threshold)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,"

Apparently, some are created more equal than others.

Rule of law!?! Strict constructionists feel free to construct your own version, for now.

What is truly sad is that m... (Below threshold)

What is truly sad is that most Americans have never read the entire Declaration, even those who have taken what passes for a Civics course in public high school. Thank you, Jay. This was a perfect way to start my Independence Day.

Important points in the Dec... (Below threshold)

Important points in the Declaration:

1. Our rights are granted by our Creator----not by a King, a Constitution or a Bill of Rights. (Indeed, Amendment 9 of the Bill of Rights notes that amendments describing rights are not comprehensive.)
2. Our rights are unalienable
3. The powers of the government (or at least the JUST powers) are derived from the consent of the governed.
4. The purpose of creating a government is to protect our unalienable rights. ("That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men")
5. The people can withdraw their consent when the government fails to fulfill its purpose.

Semanticleo: "Apparently, s... (Below threshold)

Semanticleo: "Apparently, some are created more equal than others."

Strict constructionists?? You mean like Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, who in an obvious homage to George Orwell wrote THIS in 1978:

"In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently."

Blackmun remains a HERO to the Left for his origami-like twisting and turning of our Constitution into whatever suited his purpose.

Justrand;Let me as... (Below threshold)


Let me ask you a question.

Which made the better decision; BushI who pardoned
Weinberger and Crew BEFORE all the dirty little secrets of Reagan's Arms and Coke Dealers negotiating with the Ayatollah became public knowledge, or GWB
acting only after the public was treated to the facts via the evidence, conviction and sentencing of Libby?

I'm sorry, Semanticleo, can... (Below threshold)

I'm sorry, Semanticleo, can remind me again what JUSTICE was obstructed by Libby??

The Special Prosecutor was appointed to find out who "leaked" the name of a non-covert desk-jockey at Langley. Long before he questioned Libby that very same Special Prosecutor had SOLVED THE CASE!! Armitage! Justice COULD have been served by proceeding down THAT lane.

Now then, back to your question...what was it again? And how does it apply to your earlier "Strict Constructionist" thing??

Now then, back to your ques... (Below threshold)

Now then, back to your question..

The question would be clear to an honest man.

Semanticleo...after careful... (Below threshold)

Semanticleo...after careful research I have discovered that between Bush I and Bush II there was, gasp, ANOTHER PRESIDENT!! Klinton.

Please re-word your question to include his granting of Executive Clemency to the FALN bombers. Since the actions of Bush I involved a pardon the better comparison is between Libby forgetting details of a non-crime versus FALN bombers killing innocent people in a bank.

Justrand; You sound defens... (Below threshold)

Justrand; You sound defensive. Conscience?

Leo, you're just full of qu... (Below threshold)

Leo, you're just full of questions, but rather evasive on answers. "The question would be clear to an honest man."

I don't recall you being named Grand Inquisitor around here, asking all the pointed, snide questions and exempt from any answers. When did that happen?


Semanticleo...nope, just lo... (Below threshold)

Semanticleo...nope, just looking for something closer to apples-to-apples.

A PARDON is not the same as a COMMUTATION of sentence.

Of course, "Obstruction of Justice" in a non-crime situation is not the same as a bunch of FALN bombers slaughtering innocent people.

But at least both Presidential actions involved Executive Clemency.

Clear enough?

"Which made the better deci... (Below threshold)

"Which made the better decision;"

Uh, Jay...the question was put to Justrand, but for his and your edification I have simplified it.

But feel free to feign confusion if you find the answer unkind to your position.

The Defarge Dems just can't... (Below threshold)

The Defarge Dems just can't get over their blood lust for Libby. And they never will.

"A PARDON is not the same a... (Below threshold)

"A PARDON is not the same as a COMMUTATION of sentence.'

Correct in terms of legal definitions, but I am talking about the result; escape from punishment.

You see apples come in varieties. Granny Smith and Pippin are still apples, not oranges.

ok, Semanticleo, here's the... (Below threshold)

ok, Semanticleo, here's the answer:

George W. Bush made a BETTER decision in commuting PART of Libby's sentence (the jail time), but leaving the appeal process in place to determine justice...than BILL KLINTON did in freeing the murderous FALN vermin so his wife could get the PR vote in New York.

now THAT should be clear enough even for you!!

"George W. Bush made a BETT... (Below threshold)

"George W. Bush made a BETTER decision in commuting PART of Libby's sentence"

If the appeals process allows the conviction to stand
justice will have been served? Or is the only just outcome that Libby be exonerated and nominated for Sainthood?

Sheesh, can't a simple holi... (Below threshold)

Sheesh, can't a simple holiday remembrance stand without lefties trying to co-opt it to air their political grievances?

Why don't all you lefties go open a cold beverage of your choice, fire up the barbecue, toss something on it (it can veggie burgers, for all I care), sit back and enjoy a summer's day, hmmm?

If the appeals pro... (Below threshold)
If the appeals process allows the conviction to stand justice will have been served?

And if he had served a significant part of his sentence and an appeal overturned the conviction, then justice would have been served?

The judge made a lousy decision in not allowing him to remain out of prison during his appeals process.

He's not a violent criminal, he has no past record, he's not a flight risk.

Me thinks the judge believes he has a good chance of winning on appeal, and wants to make sure Libby is punished before that happens.

Semanticleo, you apparently... (Below threshold)

Semanticleo, you apparently (by your silence) feel that Saint William of Klinton made a BETTER decision freeing a pack of murderous vermin than Bush did in keeping a NON-VIOLENT man out of jail while his appeals went forward.

shame on you.

Just out of curiosity, do y... (Below threshold)

Just out of curiosity, do you fellas and ladies who run this Wizbang blog thingy know whether or not people are spamming the rating system? How can you get less than five stars on a public document like this, anyway (let alone 2.3 stars)?

How can you get le... (Below threshold)
How can you get less than five stars on a public document like this, anyway (let alone 2.3 stars)?

Because America-hating lefties just have to vent their spleen somewhere.

"The question would be c... (Below threshold)

"The question would be clear to an honest man." - Semanticleo

Thus Semanticleo explains why he is struggling with concepts entailing Justice.

A belated echo of what ww s... (Below threshold)

A belated echo of what ww said. These men signed the Declaration while the world's greatest Navy was anchored in New York harbor.
We are indeed fortunate that an assemblage of such brilliant, brave and persevering men occurred at this time in our history.

one more brave man...Rick M... (Below threshold)

one more brave man...Rick Monday


oops...shoulda done the URL... (Below threshold)

oops...shoulda done the URL thing. Well...cut & paste into your browser and enjoy!

"The question woul... (Below threshold)
"The question would be clear to an honest man." - Semanticleo

Thus Semanticleo explains why he is struggling with concepts entailing Justice.

Good one, DJ! -LOL-

Sheesh, can't a simple ... (Below threshold)

Sheesh, can't a simple holiday remembrance stand without lefties trying to co-opt it to air their political grievances?

Why don't all you lefties go open a cold beverage of your choice, fire up the barbecue, toss something on it (it can veggie burgers, for all I care), sit back and enjoy a summer's day, hmmm?

Seconded and thirded (sometimes being schizophrenic is useful). Granted, these men made it possible for us to enjoy our rights to free speech, but everything has its time and place. This may be the latter, but today hardly seems like the former.

Linoge, there's one bratwur... (Below threshold)

Linoge, there's one bratwurst left from our BBQ, would ya like it?

I certainly am not one to t... (Below threshold)

I certainly am not one to turn down free food ;).

And we got potato salad, an... (Below threshold)

And we got potato salad, and baked beans...

In all seriousness, on this... (Below threshold)

In all seriousness, on this day, let me say the things I think we can all agree on:

God Bless America, the home of the free. More glad to be born here than anywhere else on the world. We have it so good, in so many ways, and so many great people have worked hard their whole lives, and fought and died, for us to have the privileges we enjoy as every day life.






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