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what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer on the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we re- 5 sort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have re- 10 monstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; strances have produced additional violences and insult; 15 our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free - - if we mean to preserve 20 inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall 25 be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us.
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with 80 formidable an adversary. But when shall we be 30 stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying 35 supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom
of hope, until our enemies have bound us hand and foot ? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and 5 in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and
who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The 10 battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant,
the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in sub
mission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their 15 clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable - and let it come! I repeat, sir, let it come!
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry peace, peace - but there is no peace. The war
is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the 20 North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!
Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be
purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, 25 Almighty God! I know not what course others may take;
but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE°
(IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776) A DECLARATION BY THE REPRESENTATIVES
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN
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, 5 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 10 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 be- 15 comes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a 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 20 dictate, that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 25 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 5 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 10 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. 15 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 un20 usual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of
their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measure.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights 25 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 30 the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasions from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the laws for the
naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to 35 encourage their migration hither, and raising the condi
tions 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 5 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 times of peace, standing armies, 10 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 constitutions, and unacknowledged 15 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 inhabit- 20 ants of these States;
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world;
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury;
25 For transporting us beyond seas, to be tried for pretended offences;
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at 30 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