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A Declaration to hold these truths to be self-evident

In keeping with the spirit of Independence Day, here is an excerpt

from the Declaration of Independence. The document, both an

extraordinary public assertion of human rights and a detailed

condemnation of British tyranny, stands as one of the most stirring


works of political and philosophical thought ever written.

It was drafted by Thomas Jefferson from June 11 to June 28, 1776.

Independence Day commemorates the signing of the document by

representatives of the Thirteen Colonies.


IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of


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


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.