The Declaration of Independence-(Original to Modern Translation)
Side by Side Comparison
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.
When it becomes necessary to end one political process due to lack of representation, it's only fair to list the reasons why.
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.--
We believe everyone is created equal, and should be afforded the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as they see it. We believe these rights a fundamental truth, and no government’s right to curtail, now, and forever more.
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.
That to protect these rights, governments are designed by and get their powers from its People. And when any design of government begins to remove their freedoms, it's the sole responsibility of the People to repair or replace it.
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.
We shouldn't change government lightly however, for when we do, people suffer. Therefore, it's important that whatever form of governing process we agree on, we build it well. When however through ANY actions this governing body we create, seeks to reduce our civil liberties, or reduce our ability to self govern, it's not only our right, it's our civic obligation within any real Republic to amend or throw off such governments, and provide a new governing body that supports civil liberties for all, now, and for future generations. To enjoy civil liberties, our participation in maintaining their security lands squarely on us, those who live under them.
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.
Looking at the King of England's record, it's clear England wants total control of our colonies, compromising our liberties. Here are our facts-
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He won't allow us to create our own laws, a fundamental need for things to work here.
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 won't let us pass important laws we need now. He's got to sign off on them and when he doesn’t we suffer.
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's refused to let us pass laws affecting large groups of people in our colonies unless they swore allegiance to him even though they’ve had the right to self govern, clearly showing he's a tyrant.
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 requests meetings of our representatives in far away cold, and strange places for the purpose of wearing them down into submission so they’ll agree with him.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He's disbanded our leaders whenever we complain about human rights abuses.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolution, 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.
By not allowing us to self govern in any capacity, it opens our colonies up for corruption from within as well as from outside.
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.
He fights to control our colony’s population, immigration, ownership of land, and expansion.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He's made it difficult to practice the law here, wanting himself to be the ultimate judge and jury.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He's sent over crooks who he calls judges to dispense his will through courts without trial or jury.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He's created new offices whose staff beat business down through harassment to enforce his will upon us.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He's sent the Army to watch over us, when we didn't need or want them.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He's done everything to make his army bigger than our system of law, and our ability to carry out justice.
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:
He refuses to acknowledge our own laws, and tells us we have to follow his laws instead.
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For breaking up our military so as to make them vulnerable, and controllable.
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For protecting any of the British military personnel by mock trial from going to jail for any reason, allowing them operate outside our own laws.
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For cutting off our trade with other countries.
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For adding taxes without our consent.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For taking away our right to trial by jury in many cases.
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For kidnapping our citizens only to be tried and convicted outside our colonies, and our own laws.
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 rule into these Colonies:
For taking us,one of England’s provinces, removing our laws, forcing his own body of laws on us, and expanding it's boundary and making it an example of rule of law others must follow or else.
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For taking away our charters (forms of legislature) that allow us to govern.
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
For suspending our own laws, and forcing his own system of justice down our throats.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
For disowning our government, and for declaring war on us for having the desire to self-govern.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He has over-fished our waters, burnt up our towns, and destroyed the lives of many people within our colonies.
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 & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
Right this very moment, he's sending over a large army of mercenaries with no morals to kill and torture everyone now that he's ruined our laws protecting the common man. If you think we've been repressed up to now, expect the worst you can imagine.
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 kidnapped citizens of our colony on the high seas, and turned them in to his own soldiers only to fight their own brothers and sisters here.
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.
He has manipulated people and groups within our colony to fight each other, and wants rule of law similar to those savage Native Americans who live by war destroying everyone under any conditions. (Guerrilla warfare is probably what they're talking about here since war prior to that had been fought face to face in broad daylight)
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.
With every action above, we've petitioned, and been told in return to “suck it up”. By this alone, it's time to stand up for ourselves as free people, and kick this tyrant out.
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.
We don't like making waves. And we've warned England from time to time we'll govern ourselves, reminding England the conditions of our own immigration and settling here. We've asked nicely, yet even when we've shown them how it's bad business for everyone, they just won't listen. So it's up to us to fight for our fundamental rights, and anyone who's opposed to this inside or out of our borders is our enemy, and anyone forging to expand civil liberties, our friend.
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.
So we the representatives of the people living within these unified States of America gathered here under one roof declare to the supreme judge of the world we are free. We declare we are no longer under the British crown’s rule, and all political connections are hereby over. These Free and Independent States of America have full power to each build partnerships, do business, go to war, or negotiate peace. To show we mean what we say, we offer each other our lives, our fortunes, and our integrity.
Minor note: the original listed here is slightly altered from the original so you can understand it. As an example, the word “General Congress, Assembled” is spelled “General Congrefs Afsembled”.
The declaration of independence was signed by 56 of the wealthiest and/or brightest colonists in America at the time including
Button Gwinnett, a recent English immigrant, Lyman Hall who fought for a federally funded religious university, and George Walton who was strangely traded back to the US after spending 2 years behind bars in England escaping death somehow. With a massive bounty for his head put out by the King himself, aren’t you curious how he did it?
As is mentioned in the video “Don’t be a Sucker” on YouTube, we’re a nation of minorities. Whenever we let anyone impinge on someone else’s minority, it’s only a matter of time before we lose our own rights.
“Together we stand” doesn’t mean we stand together against this or that group, it means we’re all strong by supporting other’s values.
Difference is what makes each of us and this country strong. Respect the choices others make, it’s the American Way.
modern translation written by Leifur Thor