The Idiom

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Friday, July 04, 2008

The Matter of the Day

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands that have connected them with another, and assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind demands that the declare the cause that impel them to that 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 and that among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

And that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

And that whenever any Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter, or abolish it, and institute new Government, laying its foundations upon such principles and organizing its powers as to THEM seems best to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, would dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. And 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 appoint new guardians for their future security.

The history of the present king of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated abuses and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny in these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted before a candid world:

He has refused is assent to laws 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 until his assent shall be obtained. And when so suspended, has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless these people would relinquish their 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 repositories 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 al the danger of invasion from without and convulsions form within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws of naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass other laws to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions for the appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing to his assent to laws for the establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices and the payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass 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 to 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 pretended acts of 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 inhabiants of these states.

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 the seas to be tried for pretended offenses.

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 a 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 Governments.

For suspending our Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with the power to legislate for us whatsoever.

He has abdicated his Government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He have plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and utterly destroyed the lives of our People.

He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, begun by him in circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous of 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 bretheren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections among 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 the oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble of terms. Our repeated petitions, have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, who’s character is thus marked by every act that may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.

Nor have we been wanting in our attentions to our British bretheren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. And have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them to disavow these usurpations which, inevitably, would interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must therefore acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold all 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 the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies, are of right and ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they absolved of 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 the 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.


(On this day, 232 years ago, the king of Great Britain, George III, noted in his diary "Nothing of importance happened today...)

May we all pause, if only for a moment, to reflect on the enormity of what happened on this day 232 to years ago - the establishment of a new way to be human - and to think on what must be done to "secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

1 Comments:

At Friday, July 4, 2008 at 8:57:00 AM EDT, Blogger Keith said...

I don't think you meant to use the word "enormity". Look it up please. :^)

The post is appreciated nonetheless. Happy Independence Day!

 

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