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In Congress, July 4, 1776

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

{Editor's Note: Readers of this History have found described in their

proper chronological place the circumstances which led up to the production of

this immortal document. There is, perhaps, no other paper in the archives of

the world which has meant so much for human progress and the happiness of the

race as this. The principles it expresses are fundamental and eternal, and remain

true for all peoples and all time.]

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 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