When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another; a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to make that separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations reduces them to 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 patience of these fifty states; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their system of government. The history of the present federal government is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all working toward the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:
It has refused to abide by the strict guidelines of the United States Constitution, and has instead decided that it alone will decide what is necessary for the public good.
It has forbidden state legislatures to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, and has allowed the federal judiciary to strike down countless state laws as unconstitutional, in clear violation of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution.
It has refused all states the proper control of land within their respective borders and has instead used its power to confiscate even more property.
It has enacted legislation, on issues ranging from alcohol consumption to the ownership of firearms, for the sole purpose of forcing states and individual citizens into compliance with its wishes.
It has unlawfully persecuted, under various administrations, citizens and organizations for opposing its invasions on the rights of the people.
It has continued to pass laws affecting campaign financing and election procedures that have only served to exclude ordinary citizens from the political process.
It has endeavored to prevent states from taking steps to curb illegal immigration and has refused to protect the sovereign borders of this nation.
It has obstructed the administration of justice by refusing to equally apply the laws it passes to members of the federal government.
It has allowed judges to become dependent upon their own political ideology without any regard for the Constitution.
It has established a multitude of new bureaucracies, and has sent out swarms of officers to harass the people.
It has maintained, in times of peace, standing armies both here on our shores and overseas.
It has effectively rendered the military independent of and superior to the civil authority.
It has subjected us to things foreign to our Constitution, giving its assent to burdensome acts of legislation:
For forcing states to quarter illegal immigrants.
For protecting them and refusing to deport even those convicted of serious crimes.
For implementing protectionist measures that have limited our ability to engage in free trade with all parts of the world.
For imposing taxes, hidden or otherwise, without our consent.
For threatening to deprive us, in times of perceived crisis, of the benefits of trial by jury.
For federalizing offenses that should remain under the jurisdiction of the states.
For implementing a foreign policy that has this nation engaged in costly and unnecessary entanglements overseas.
For taking away state sovereignty, abolishing federalism, and altering fundamentally our entire system of government.
For superseding state legislatures, and investing in Congress the power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever; including areas such as employment, health care, education, and housing, among others.
It has waged war against citizens of the United States by using armed troops to enforce unconstitutional laws.
It has denied states the control over valuable natural resources within their own borders.
It is, at this time, engaged in armed conflict overseas without a formal and constitutional declaration of war.
It has turned businesses into government agencies, forcing workers to report the "suspicious" activities of their fellow citizens to authorities.
It has succeeded, through its interventionist policies, in funding and arming enemies of the United States of America.
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 government, whose character is marked by every act which may define a tyranny, is unfit to be the government of a free people.
We have warned them from time to time of attempts by Congress, the president, and the judiciary to extend an unwarranted jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of the founding of our nation. We have appealed to their sense of justice and fair play, and we have appealed to the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They have been deaf to the voice of justice and of reason. We must, therefore, hold them as we hold the rest of mankind - enemies in war, friends in peace.
We, therefore, the people of the United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, do solemnly publish and declare, that these states are, and of right ought to be, free and independent; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the existing federal government, and that as free and independent states, they have full authority to reassume those powers guaranteed to the states and the people by the Constitution. 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.