A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for
a one people to advance from that subordination in which they have hither to remained, & to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the equal & independent
separate and equal station to which the laws of nature & 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 change separation.
We hold these truths to be
sacred & undeniable self-evident; that all men are created equal & independent; that from that equal creation they derive in rights they are endowed by their creator with equal rights, some of which are certain [inherent &] inalienable rights; that among which these are the preservation of life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, & to institute a new government, laying it's foundation on such principles, & organizing it's powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness. prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light & 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 &
usurpations [begun at a distinguished period, &] pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to subject reduce them under absolute Despotism [Dr. Franklin's handwriting], it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government, & to provide new guards for their future security such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; & such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter [expunge] their former systems of government. The history of the his King of Great Britain [Mr. Adams's handwriting] present majesty is a history of [unremitting] injuries and
usurpations, [among which appears no solitary fact no one fact stands single and solitary to contradict the uniform tenor of the rest, all of which but] all having [have] in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world, [for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood.]