The Declaration of Indepndence Part 1:
Why Independence?

FROM THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

TRANSLATION

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous

Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

On July 4, 1776, all thirteen states agreed to what is said here
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.
There are times in history when one group of people needs to be free from the government of another group. It is only right and respectful that they should tell the world why this had to be.
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 that some things are always true. Everyone is made to be equal to everyone else. God has given all people the same rights that cannot be taken away. Some of these rights are the rights to life, liberty, and the opportunity to look for happiness.
--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, People make governments in order to protect these rights. It is the people who give governments their power.
--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. A bad government is one that destroys certain rights. If a government does not protect peoplesí rights, the people have the right to change or end that bad government. They have the right to set up a new government. The new government should be made in such a way that it will keep people safe and give them opportunities for 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. Of course, a government should only be ended for very good reasons. People usually put up with bad governments rather than change what they are used to. However, over a long period of time, a bad government can take away more and more of the peoplesí rights. At such a time, it is the peoplesí right and duty to overthrow that bad government. Then they need to set up a new government to keep their rights safe.
--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.
These colonies have been patiently putting up with a bad government for some time. It is now time to overthrow that government. The present King of England has abused these colonies and is now a dictator over us. This can be proven with facts, which will now be honestly shown to the world.

 

  1. What rights does the Declaration say that people have?



  2. Why are governments created, and who gives them authority?



  3. When should people form a new government?



  4. Why are the thirteen states now declaring that they will form their own government?



     

  5. What do you think was the most shocking idea in the Declaration to people in Europe? Why?



     

  6. How would you describe the tone of this part of the Declaration? Angry? Happy? Sad? Do you think the writers were trying to persuade "hearts" or "minds"?

 

 

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