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Patrick Henry Tea Party
18120 Southern Cross Lane
Beaverdam, VA 23015
Declaration of Independence
(Adopted by Congress on 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 to 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 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
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 meantime exposed
to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of
foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of
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 harass our people, and eat out their
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to 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 mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these
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 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 fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in
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
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, burned our towns, and 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,
already begun with circumstances of cruelty and 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 endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the
merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is 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 attention 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.
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, 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.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor,
James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee,
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776