In Congress, 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 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 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 lands.

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 substance.

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 states:

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 these colonies:

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 whatsoever.

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, Carter Braxton

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

Posted: July 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Unitied States of America | Tags: | 20 Comments »

20 Comments on “In Congress, July 4, 1776”

  1. brian said at 9:42 am on July 2nd, 2011:

    If these great men were alive today they would only have one question–“What the hell are you people waiting for??”

  2. Geri's husband said at 10:41 am on July 2nd, 2011:

    Thanks for putting this up here, Art. It’s nice to read this great document at least once a year. Thanks also for including the names of the signers.

    I went to Catholic schools. The nuns that taught us made sure that every student of theirs knew that Charles Carroll from the brand new colony of Maryland was a Catholic. He was the only Catholic signer. For some odd reason, the nuns also loved to point out that he survived longer than any other signer.

    On a far less interesting side note, and on a class trip while I was in the sixth grade, I kissed Geri Farrell for the first time while we hid behind the very large tombstone of one of New Jersey’s signers, Abraham Clark. (He is buried in Rahway, NJ under a very large, almost wall-like grave stone.). Geri was the first girl I ever kissed. 12 years and about 12 girlfriends later, I married her. It was the best thing I ever did. For different reasons, I don’t think I will ever forget Charles Carroll or Abraham Clark.

    God bless all of our Founding Fathers. Happy Birthday, America!


  3. Had Enough said at 12:39 pm on July 2nd, 2011:

    “…….erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

    Little did the brilliant writers of the Declaration of Independence know that they would one day be describing our present day state of affairs.

    “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.”

    Words to live by on this July 4th, 2011.

  4. STFU said at 2:01 pm on July 2nd, 2011:

    Fair enough, “Had Enough.” What’s the next step that doesn’t involve us following the lead of Timothy McVeigh? Any suggestions?

  5. Justified Right said at 2:36 pm on July 2nd, 2011:

    No mention of the words “abortion” or “marriage.”


  6. Had Enough said at 4:19 pm on July 2nd, 2011:


    Timothy McVeigh = “red herring”.

    I don’t know exactly what the ‘next step’ (or steps) should be. Smarter people than myself will need to address that question.

    But that doesn’t mean that our Founders’ statement should be any less valid and inspirational. Quite the contrary….

    Assuming you’re referring in a backhanded way to McVeigh’s involvement in Oklahoma City incident, I’m curious why you even feel it is necessary to introduce the concept of wanton violence into this discussion. I certainly didn’t. Don’t try to smear me or others with your broad brush, please.

  7. tainted said at 5:45 pm on July 2nd, 2011:

    “No mention of the words ‘abortion’ or ‘marriage.'” — Tommy DeSeno

    You ought to actually read the document, Tommy. You’d look like something less than the village idiot if you did just that.

    Our Founding Fathers mentioned God, Tommy. They also mentioned “life” and the right thereto. (Did they qualify that right to life, Tommy, by mentioning “trimesters?) Those Founding Fathers certainly mentioned the rights that God gave to man, the views of the ACLU and government-of-the-day notwithstanding.

    They certainly spoke of rights that transcended that which the government of the day was willing to confer and/or mention. In short, our Founding Fathers didn’t feel the need the to spell out each and every right entitled to citizens.

    Those same men also mentioned certain “unalienable rights” — again, they mentioned the right to “life” amongst those rights. By the way, Tommy, did our Founding Fathers restrict that right to only those who have made it to the third trimester of pregnancy?

    Tell me something, Tommy — how many of those Founding Fathers that you referred to came out in support of gay marriage? How many supported legalized abortion, their silence on those subjects on July 4, 1776 and beyond notwithstanding?

  8. DeePee said at 6:02 pm on July 2nd, 2011:

    The Declaration of Independence was followed by the Test Laws, designed to force all colonists into swearing allegiance to their local junta. A record was kept of those who took the oath and they were issued with “a certificate for safety from arrest”. Failure to take the oath meant imprisonment, confiscation of property, loss of all legal rights, banishment and even death. Those who refused to participate in the slave-owners’ revolution were barred from holding office, banned from the professions and forced to pay double or triple taxes.

  9. Gene Baldassari said at 11:42 am on July 3rd, 2011:

    This is the enacting document of the Constitution. Without independence, there would not have been authority for the supreme law.

    But that was in the past.

    Unfortunately, there is no way to enforce it today and it has no bearing on modern government, other than what the politicians want (via their appointed judges).

    Not only do we need to look at the original intent, but we must also determine what we can do to govern the country with that intent.

    The significance of 4th of July should not only be to celebrate the original sacrifices but also to inform the public that they have gone down the (vain) drain.

    Without that dual awareness, there is no purpose to the holiday other than to use our tax money to give the privileged class a paid holiday.

  10. JT said at 12:10 am on July 4th, 2011:

    “Tell me something, Tommy — how many of those Founding Fathers that you referred to came out in support of gay marriage? How many supported legalized abortion, their silence on those subjects on July 4, 1776 and beyond notwithstanding?”

    Maybe they were just too busy shtupping the slaves.

  11. lois said at 8:03 am on July 4th, 2011:

    The conversation is ranging a bit far afield—>back to July 4, 1776 and the announcement made to the whole world on that date.

    In this video Stanley El tells us how the Founders in their deliberations had already started a motion of power (underlined)—which was very much a part of their deliberations all along for they knew…they had a vision….they believed (underlined) there was a Divine Plan for the planet—–and they set it forth in the (our) Declaration of Independence. Because of the power that was behind/in and with them, the colonists could not and did not fail.
    (Stanley says it far better than i!! Wish i was as erudite and conversant with all this as Stanly is!)

    Point: Today, if and as we function in accord with this same power, we will not fail. This power is awakening people all over the country, to look more carefully, soberly, discern what is really important, —-and to take action to restore, protect and defend all that we hold dear. Art sees this; all of you do too–we grope our way forward to truth—to liberty and freedom for all.

    May God continue to bless all of our efforts.


  12. Happy4th said at 6:39 pm on July 4th, 2011:

    If Lois is a teacher, I hope she teaches CCD and not civics.

  13. lois said at 7:27 am on July 5th, 2011:

    silly me. i thought it was okay to grapple with an issue of supreme importance and try to share someone else’s insights (even as i am trying to fully understand Stanley El’s wisdom myself!). Not a “teacher” by full admission—never was, never will be—not my gift.

    Stanley El is—he just guided the Tea Party people in south Jersey through a 6-week in-depth study of “The 5000 Year Leap” which finished up in June….He was prominently featured this July 4th weekend on the front page of the “912 Patriots of South Jersey” website, where i first encountered him.

    Him (underlined) you should listen to!

    And hopefully Art will be led to interview Stanley and bring us more awareness of Stanley’s keen insights. As Dr. El wrote to me yesterday–
    “America has a ‘Manifest Destiny’ to be an example and a blessing to the entire earth. It’s purpose is to ‘Turn Mankind Back to God!’ God bless America!”

    hmmm… how did America survive against such terrible odds? What was going on there??—-and what’s going on today?!? This is what we are all being challenged to learn more about. i point to the real teacher in the room—let’s learn more from him.

  14. Tommy De Seno said at 8:38 am on July 4th, 2013:


    Whomever posted as “Justified Right” is not me!!!!!

    I’ve warned Art about this before. Allowing people to just write in any name not only sets up the fraud you see is this thread, but it leads to tremendous incivility that you see on other threads on this website.

    It makes it difficult to follow a conversation as folks change names mid-stream.

    Art I have Justified Right trademarked, so take that down please.

  15. Art Gallagher said at 8:46 am on July 4th, 2013:


    You did post that. On July 2, 2011.

    I checked the IP address. It was you. WHOA!

  16. Not A Justified Right... said at 9:16 am on July 4th, 2013:

    Oh, the humanity!!

  17. Next step.. said at 10:45 am on July 4th, 2013:

    a baby step, true, but without a mess like Egypt, how about contacting the mostly gutless wonders we call GOP Senators and Congresspeople, and bombarding them with calls and letters -demanding they get together(I realize this is often a foreign concept for many Rep’s), and listen to Mark Levin,and stand up, show some moxy, and demand and start passing, (while they still can), an end to the funding for Obamacare, the worst assault on freedom and our county,ever.. And then, carry that into the midterms, and take both houses, to begin a halt to the ruination if this great country, before it is too late.. The most sobering Independence Day in my lifetime- am filled with both gratitude and fear that we haven’t much time left,to make our smart and brave Founders proud!

  18. New job said at 10:12 am on July 4th, 2016:

    for the current Pres as of next year: ( if we can survive his onslaughts for 7 more painful months,) King of England.. Not that even the Brits would tolerate him.. He is guilty of just about every one of the outrages against citizens that brought about the Declaration, in the first place.. Since most of the current elected “officials”have either never read the Declaration and Constitution- or, have simply chosen not to follow them, and, absent enough guts and principle to convene the Convention of States to begin to take our country back, it is up to us regular, beleaguered citizens to use our last chance, our precious votes, and send a resounding message this November,that we have finally put our “vanities”aside, come together, and send the disgusting, tyrannical, current ruling class packing-we must take our country back this year, there is no more time left, to not pay attention/ not care what our “leaders” keep doing, to rob all our rights and freedoms, and those of future generations: look at our beautiful country, thank God for it, and wake up, and send a clear message: we are done with the lib phonies and tyrants, and we want a big change in direction, NOW!

  19. Truth said at 2:29 pm on July 4th, 2016:

    It seems Tommy has a problem telling the truth.


  20. Let's focus on this truth: said at 6:49 pm on July 4th, 2016:

    America is still the best hope in this world, America is in trouble, America needs a major change in direction this year, to remain the shining city on the hill, for us all, and our posterity! Thank God we live here, and pray in our own ways for a fresh start, and a renewed commitment by us all to make ourselves, and hence, Anerica, great again!