John Adams’ Rays of Ravishing Light and Glory

Independence Day is filled with lots of fun sights and rituals. Having a picnic, shooting off fireworks, attending a parade, and going out on the lake are the kinds of things every proud American does to celebrate.

What the vast majority of Americans don’t know, however, is that they are celebrating our independence exactly how one founding father intended.

Writing to his wife and best friend, Abigail, from the Continental Congress on July 3rd, 1776, John Adams informed her of the momentous news and contemplated the brand new nation that his and others’ efforts had just conceived.

(The delegates had formally approved the motion for independence on July 2nd, and Adams thought that would be the future Independence Day. Instead, we celebrate the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th.)

But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

But Adams did not stop there. He recognized that independence brought great responsibility and risk to the new Americans.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

This Fourth of July, let us recall the “Toil and Blood and Treasure” that has been sacrificed to secure our freedom.

Let us rememeber that the cost “to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States” is never fully paid.

Let us look past the challenges and controversies of today, and forward to “see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory” that Adams saw in 1776.

And don’t forget to eat your fair share of hot dogs, shoot a roman candle, and watch a baseball game, just as one founder intended.

Our Duty

The Sunday before Independence Day is a good time to reflect on the blessings multiplied by the sacrifices and risks taken 241 years ago by those who signed the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration was formally declared this day, July 2, and not fully signed by every member of Congress until August. July 4, the date chosen for our national celebration, is the day Congress published the document in its final form, so that’s the date on the printed version.

Along with the blessings, however, come duties. No endeavor of man is taken without effort and direction. Rights, which are trumpeted by every special interest and social tribe, are only as good as the duties which accompany them.

The USCIS enumerates the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship.

Rights

Responsibilities

  • Freedom to express yourself.
  • Freedom to worship as you wish.
  • Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
  • Right to vote in elections for public officials.
  • Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
  • Right to run for elected office.
  • Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
  • Support and defend the Constitution.
  • Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
  • Participate in the democratic process.
  • Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
  • Participate in your local community.
  • Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
  • Serve on a jury when called upon.
  • Defend the country if the need should arise.

If U.S. citizens, for example, refused to pay taxes (let’s not discuss what kinds of taxes), then government services would stop (eventually, after all credit was exhausted). Those services help secure and defend the rights in the left column. If citizens refused to participate in juries, then the right to a fair trial wouldn’t be possible.

Another word for “responsibilities” is “duties.”

As a citizen, we have duties we must perform, and to the degree we perform them, we secure the rights of citizenship. We don’t earn those rights of citizenship; they are derived from God-given natural rights, as free moral agents. But without our duties to defend them, those rights inevitably will erode and finally be taken from us by others in their own morality (which probably won’t recognize ours).

Since it’s Sunday, my meditation also turns to our duties as servants of God. I’m speaking generally to Christians here.

Salvation is a free gift that we cannot earn. But the blessings our salvation multiplies, and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control — Gal. 5:22-23) must be sustained and protected by doing our duty.

What is that duty?

Primarily, to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus confirmed this in Luke 10:27-28. But who is our neighbor? All of humanity, as Jesus told in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Micah 6:8 says our duty is “to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” But what is justice? Final justice is in God’s hands, but our duty is to tell the truth and bear true witness.

Our duty is to be generous with our earthly goods, “for God loves a cheerful (hilarious) giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).

Our duty is to pray for those in authority, “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2).

We must do these things or we will sacrifice the joy, peace, and love experienced by all who enter in to God’s kingdom and blessings by accepting Christ the Savior. It is not only our duty to ourselves and our own spirit, but it’s also our duty to other Christians.

Luke 17:2 has one of the sternest warnings Jesus gave in the New Testament. “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Woe to him who presents a stumbling block (a bad witness) to our youth. That one is hardly taken seriously these days, but it should.

Our duties to God and to our country are inextricably linked. For America to be great, America must be good. And for America to be good, its citizens must due their duty.

On this July 2, when the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by Congress, I am focusing on my duty, not my rights. I want to become a better citizen, and better servant of the Most High. Doing that, I believe, is the proper way to celebrate the blessings and rights those men secured 241 years ago.

The Death Warrant

On a hot August day in 1985, Dick Brewster and Rod Compagna were installing a security system in the historic Ladd-Gilman House in Exeter, N.H. The Gilman family home dated back to colonial days; the Gilman family included a delegate to the original Constitutional Convention, and at least two U.S. Senators.

While tearing out the attic floor, they ran across an original broadside of the Declaration of Independence, printed on July 4, 1776 by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. Only 200 of these were made for distribution to the colonies. The New Hampshire copy reached the state on July 16. Time was of the essence, since the Continental Congress had committed an act of treason against the Crown, and in so doing had signed their own death warrants.

The original Declaration of Independence would have been of little value had it not been distributed far and wide. The act of signing the document was brave by those who drafted and approved it; but the truly revolutionary (and punishable by death) act was dispatching the copies. Making a statement without following it up with action was then, as it is now, useless.

To win freedom, America had to fight a long, bloody war against the British, who were not wont to losing colonies to upstart revolutionaries. We fought the British again in 1812. Then we let liberty die.

Abolitionist Republican Abraham Lincoln’s victory over populist Stephen A. Douglas (who ramrodded the Missouri Compromise through Congress) sealed the south’s economic fate. But liberty’s fate was sealed long before that.  A long, fruitless series of statements, compromises, heinous judicial miscarriages, and political deadlock killed freedom and liberty, such that by December 20, 1860, the State of South Carolina decided to leave the Union rather than suffer further political injury.

Nearly three years, and a half million deaths after southern secession, Lincoln asserted that the action of those men who fought upon the hallowed ground of Gettysburg would be able to resurrect the suffocated liberty of America.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Those 620,000 war dead in the Civil War died for the same death warrant that the Continental Congress signed.

The death warrant is still in effect 240 years later. Whenever liberty dies in the United States, men may be called upon to fight and die for its rebirth. Today we are seeing freedom take its last gasping breath in America. The 14th Amendment, written to guarantee liberty to slaves, has become a bush of thorns, from which a right to kill babies has emerged. It has also been used to justify overturning the sovereign will of free states to govern their own affairs as guaranteed by the Constitution with travesties such as Obergefell v. Hodges.

The basic right to be born and live as free moral agents, subservient to God and Natural Law alone has been abridged by a government withheld from absolute tyranny by only the smallest counterweight. And now that counterweight has broken.

One candidate for president is running on a populist platform with no apparent policy other than making others believe his words while making impossible promises that nobody could keep. This man is no more qualified to lead America than Enoch Poor was qualified to lead troops at Breed’s Hill or Hugh Judson Kilpatrick was qualified to command at Gettysburg.

The other candidate for president committed actual felonies, the evidence of which is publicly available and agreed upon by all to be proof of guilt. These crimes would (and have) landed others in prison. Some have had their careers destroyed for far less, like General Petraeus. Yet, it seems likely that a political fix the likes of which has not been seen in America will spare this candidate from trial and conviction.

Even Richard Nixon was forced to resign, having been caught attempting to assert himself above the law. But now we will have a choice for president of two people who not only see themselves as above the law, but have lived that way their whole professional lives.

Mark my words: Should either of them attain the presidency, American liberty and freedom will be snuffed out again, and lives will again be called upon for to give the last full measure of devotion for the cause of its rebirth.

If called upon to fight, we will because we have a duty to those who lived before us. When those signers of the Declaration of Independence signed their death warrants–and acted to send 200 copies to the furthest colonies to publicize the deed–240 years ago today, they also signed our death warrants.

Either Americans will answer when liberty calls from the grave, or America itself will die.

If You Despise the Left’s Authoritarianism, You Should Also Hate It From Trump

At last night’s CNN Republican Presidential Debate moderated by Jake Tapper, Donald J. Trump affirmed he likes to emulate “strength” even if it’s authoritarian in nature.

Below is the full exchange between Tapper and Trump:

Although Trump claims he doesn’t endorse authoritarianism, he downplayed the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre last night by calling it a “riot” stopped by a “strong” Chinese government and said he approved of the “strong” message contained in the Benito Mussolini quote he retweeted.

Trump’s flirtation with authoritarianism is nothing new. In a 1990 interview with Playboy Magazine, Trump suggested the Chinese government demonstrated the “power of strength” for quashing dissent from pro-freedom Chinese students on June 4th, 1989:

When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak … as being spit on by the rest of the world–

Most recently, he thanked former KGB agent and current Russian president Vladimir Putin for complimenting him as “bright and talented without any doubt” back in December.  And just last month, Trump suggested he would “open up our libel laws” to suppress speech and writings that are critical of him.

If this quasi-tyrannical behavior from Trump doesn’t scare you, it now should.

Why are people excusing the presumptive GOP frontrunner’s bully tactics and mercurial Jekyll-Hyde tendencies if they despise this behavior from the Left?  They resent Obama’s divisive rhetoric and mean-spirited ways, but unapologetically stand by Trump no matter the discordant thoughts he utters or the disparaging insults he delivers.

Mr. Flexible pledges to “Make America Great Again” on the pretext of empty promises and building magical things. It doesn’t matter if Trump resorts to ad hominem attacks or if his staffer beats up a female reporter. In the eyes of his supporters, the thrice-married Mr. Trump is perfect. Dare to challenge Il Trumpo? You’re not loyal to this country!

We already saw this blind idol worship of presidential candidates during the 2008 campaign election cycle. Like Obama, Trump won’t save us or make this country better–only the American people can. If Trump isn’t stopped by someone like Ted Cruz, I’m afraid we’re doomed with either him or the Margaret Sanger-loving Alinskyite this November.

As I write this, today marks the 26th anniversary of my ancestral homeland, Lithuania, formally declaring its independence from the Soviet Union. It was the first occupied country in Eastern Europe to boldly stick it to the communists. The desire for freedom soon reverberated throughout the world–helping to usher in the USSR’s demise. It was a beautiful testament to freedom triumphing over evil. More than a quarter of a century later, sadly, the re-emergence of authoritarian ideas has creeped into American politics by way of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. Alas, it appears that many of our fellow Americans have not learned from history.

Don’t be bamboozled by Trump’s “strength” and tough talk. Authoritarianism–whether in the form of fascism, socialism, or Marxism–is antithetical to our way of life. If you hate authoritarianism from the Left, you should hate it from Trump too.

Independence Day

declaration of independence

The Unanimous Declaration of the
Thirteen United States of America

In Congress, July 4, 1776

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 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. 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 mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions 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 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 protecting them, by a 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 into 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 insurrection among us, and has endeavored 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.

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 our 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, 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 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.

[Signed by] JOHN HANCOCK [President]

New Hampshire
JOSIAH BARTLETT,
WM. WHIPPLE,
MATTHEW THORNTON.

Massachusetts Bay
SAML. ADAMS,
JOHN ADAMS,
ROBT. TREAT PAINE,
ELBRIDGE GERRY

Rhode Island
STEP. HOPKINS,
WILLIAM ELLERY.

Connecticut
ROGER SHERMAN,
SAM’EL HUNTINGTON,
WM. WILLIAMS,
OLIVER WOLCOTT.

New York
WM. FLOYD,
PHIL. LIVINGSTON,
FRANS. LEWIS,
LEWIS MORRIS.

New Jersey
RICHD. STOCKTON,
JNO. WITHERSPOON,
FRAS. HOPKINSON,
JOHN HART,
ABRA. CLARK.

Pennsylvania
ROBT. MORRIS
BENJAMIN RUSH,
BENJA. FRANKLIN,
JOHN MORTON,
GEO. CLYMER,
JAS. SMITH,
GEO. TAYLOR,
JAMES WILSON,
GEO. ROSS.

Delaware
CAESAR RODNEY,
GEO. READ,
THO. M’KEAN.

Maryland
SAMUEL CHASE,
WM. PACA,
THOS. STONE,
CHARLES CARROLL
of Carrollton.

Virginia
GEORGE WYTHE,
RICHARD HENRY LEE,
TH. JEFFERSON,
BENJA. HARRISON,
THS. NELSON, JR.,
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE,
CARTER BRAXTON.

North Carolina
WM. HOOPER,
JOSEPH HEWES,
JOHN PENN.

South Carolina
EDWARD RUTLEDGE,
THOS. HAYWARD, JUNR.,
THOMAS LYNCH, JUNR.,
ARTHUR MIDDLETON.

Georgia
BUTTON GWINNETT,
LYMAN HALL,
GEO. WALTON.

The post Independence Day appeared first on RedState.

Independence Day

Liberty

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 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. 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 mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

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 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 protecting them, by a 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 benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

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 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, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat 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.

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 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.

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 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, 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.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel 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