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He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operations 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 repository 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 endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose, obstructing the laws of naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migration thither, 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 time 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 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 neighboring province, establishing there 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 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 insurrections amongst 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 attentions to our British breth
We have warned them, from time to time, of the attempts, by their legislature, to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over
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 enevitably 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 de
nounces 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 out to be, free and Independent States ; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion 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.
The forgoing declaration was, by order of Congress, engrossed and signed by the following members :
JOHN HANCOCK. New-Hampshire. New
Jersey. Charles Carroll, of
George Wythe, Massachusetts Bay. Abraham Clark. Richard Henry Lee,
Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, John Adams,
Pennsylvania. Benjamin Harrison,
Thomas Nelson, Jr. Robert Treat Paine, Robert Morris,
Francis Lightfoot Lee, Elbridge Gerry. Benjamin Rush,
James Wilson, John Penn.
South Carolina. Samuel Huntington,
Edward Rutledge, William Williams, Cæsar Rodney,
Thomas Heyward, Jr. Oliver Wolcott.
George Read, Thomas Lynch, Jr.
, Button Guinett,
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
WE, the people of the United States, in order to form a more
perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Sec. I.--All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Sec. II.-1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year, by the people of the several states: and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.
2. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of the state in which he shall be chosen.
3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, ac- cording to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative : and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of NewHampshire shall be entitled to choose three ; Massachusetts eight; Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one ; Connecticut five; New-York six ; New Jersey four ; Pennsylvania eight; Delaware one ; Maryland six ; Virginia ten; North Carolina five; South Carolina five; Georgia three.
4. When vacancies shall happen in the representation from
any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
5. The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers, and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Sec. III.1. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each senator shall have one vote.
2. Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided, as equally as may be, into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and the third class, at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen by resignation or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any state, the executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.
3. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.
4. The Vice-President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
5. The Senate shall choose their other officers and also a president pro-tempore, in the absence of the Vice-President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.
6. The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside ; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.
7. Judgment in cases of impeachment, shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit, under the United States; but the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according to la
Sec. IV.-1. The times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state, by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may, at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing senators.