1. World Map/
  2. United States Declaration of Independence, Declaration of Independence of United States -Worldatlas.com

United States Declaration of Independence, Declaration of Independence of United States -Worldatlas.com


The presentation of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress, painted by John Trumbull 

In June of 1776, a committee of the Second Continental Congress consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut (the "Committee of Five") was formed to draft a declaration of independence from Britain. 

 Church bells rang out across Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.... signaling that the Declaration of Independencewas approved and officially adopted by the Continental Congress, and then signed in Philadelphia's Independence Hall. Eleven years later, in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was drafted and signed in the same building. 

By action of the Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776 
dot
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. 
dot
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. 
dot
HE has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good. 
dot
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. 
dot
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. 
dot
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. 
dot
HE has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People. 
dot

HE has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of the 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 the Convulsions within. 
dot
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. 
dot
HE has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers. 
dot
HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries. 
dot
HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance. 
dot
HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures. 
dot
HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power. 
dot
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: 
dot
FOR quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us; 
dot
FOR protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: 
dot
FOR cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World: 
dot
FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 
dot
FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury: 
dot

FOR transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences: 
dot
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 Rules into these Colonies: 
dot
FOR taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: 
dot
FOR suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever. 
dot
HE has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. 
dot
HE has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People. 
dot
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 and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation. 
dot
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. 
dot
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. 
dot
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. 
dot
NOR have we been wanting in Attentions to our British 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. 
dot
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. 
dot
John Hancock. GEORGIA, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, Geo. Walton. NORTH-CAROLINA, Wm. Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn. SOUTH-CAROLINA, Edward Rutledge, Thos Heyward, junr., Thomas Lynch, junr., Arthur Middleton. MARYLAND, Samuel Chase, Wm. Paca, Thos. Stone, Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. VIRGINIA, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Ths. Jefferson, Benja. Harrison, Thos. Nelson, jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton. PENNSYLVANIA, Robt. Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benja. Franklin, John Morton, Geo. Clymer, Jas. Smith, Geo. Taylor, James Wilson, Geo. Ross. DELAWARE, Caesar Rodney, Geo. Read. NEW-YORK, Wm. Floyd, Phil. Livingston, Frank Lewis, Lewis Morris. NEW-JERSEY, Richd. Stockton, Jno. Witherspoon, Fras. Hopkinson, John Hart, Abra. Clark.NEW-HAMPSHIRE, Josiah Bartlett, Wm. Whipple, Matthew Thornton. MASSACHUSETTS-BAY, Saml. Adams, John Adams, Robt. Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry. RHODE-ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE, C. Step. Hopkins, William Ellery. CONNECTICUT, Roger Sherman, Saml. Huntington, Wm. Williams, Oliver Wolcott.

Trending on WorldAtlas