Nothing can settle our affairs so expeditiously as an open and determined declaration for independance,
Thomas Paine, COMMON SENSE.


Following a discussion of Thomas Paine’s work, the Continental Congress agreed and announced the Declaration on July the 4th, 1776.


The Declaration of Independence is the formal proclamation of American independence from England.
July the 4th is a national holiday in the USA.






The Declaration content

(Part 3 of our grammar journey invites work on nouns.)




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 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 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 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.


Signed by ORDER and in BEHALF of the CONGRESS,


Declaration data


John Dunlap printed the Declaration on the day the Second Continental Congress adopted it.


There is a distinct change in wording from this original broadside printing of the Declaration and the final official engrossed copy. The word “unanimous” was inserted as a result of a Congressional resolution passed on July 19, 1776,


The heading, The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America, yet remains the only difference from the print:


It was the print the people received, preparing for the prospective warfare, and none of the states was taken hostage by the resolve of the 4th, anyway.


Today, we may know the engrossed copy as THE STONE’S ENGRAVING of the Declaration of Independence.


As the original ink was fading, printer William J. Stone was commissioned in 1820 to create an identical engraving. He used a wet-ink transfer process. His copy is used for most presentations of the Declaration today.


We can compare prints with the NATIONAL ARCHIVES



The Declaration came after attempts to conciliate with England. The Olive Branch Petition was one of those efforts. Thomas Jefferson wrote the “original rough draught” of the Declaration in June 1776. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were among the text co-editors.


Typescript data

The purpose of the typescript is not correction. No one might correct a historic document. The typescript is to show nominal structures consistently.


The Philadelphia printer, bookseller, and Revolutionary War soldier, John Dunlap made about 200 copies. He was evidently well capable of the print style, yet had very little time.


The style capitalized nominals, that is, printed nouns and forms to derive from nouns with big letters.


Italics show the original.
… a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes …
Please compare the “light and transient Causes”.


… whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise …

Result of time limitations, as above.


… the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within …
We may compare the “mean time” and the adverbial “meanwhile”


Noun phrases as “Judiciary Powers”, “Standing Armies”, or “Civil Powers” embrace the adjective owing to denotation, that is, reference in reality.


HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.
We may compare the “Consent of the Governed”, as above in the original. “The Governed” means people, persons. The structure works in language as a noun, hence the capital letter.


FOR quartering … protecting … cutting off … imposing …
Gerundive forms are not capitalized, as they derive from verbs. We may compare the verb phrase Petitioned for Redress”: it derives from the noun phrase “Petition for Redress”.


… already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy …
Please compare Circumstances of our Emigration”.


… constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive …
The phrase refers to the condition of being hostage, prisoner. The word “captive” means “prisoner”, a noun.


… whose Character is thus marked by every act …
We may compare Acts of pretended Legislation”, and Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right”.


… the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled …
The adjective “assembled” belongs with the phrase “Assembled General Congress”.


… solemnly Publish and Declare …
Please compare the comment for the “Petiton for Redress”, above.


That these United Colonies …
The Declaration style is oratorial, it relates to spoken language.


…And for the support of this Declaration …


Please mind the time limitations the circumstances imposed on the print.

The print uses the colon the way we mostly use the semi-colon nowadays.