Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence: Shortly after the last witchhunt era, public schoolchildren were expected to memorize the first 1.5 paragraphs and the major statements of this document. Being long out of school, I have verified that these are direct quotes from the American Declaration of Independence, adopted on the 4th of July, 1776.
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 power 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 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.
He [King George III of Great Britian] has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable and distant from the depository of 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 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 legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the 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 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 offences.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
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.
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.
[Signed] John Hancock.
Followed by the signatures of delegates to the Continental Congress from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia