Freedom! . . . Right?

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.

Charles A. Beard

 

Presentation of the DeclarationPresentation of the Declaration by John Trumbull

The Declaration of Independence lists the “repeated injuries and usurpations,” the  “causes for the separation” of the American colonies from the British motherland:

 Note: “He” refers to King George III


He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most whole-
   some 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 harrass 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 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 summary, an out-of-touch government abused its power and passed laws detrimental to its citizens.

For that, we waged a revolution.

What is it we’re celebrating again?

Oh, right. Freedom.

 


 

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