Algeraines, captured several of their vessels, and compelled the Dey to seek peace. He was killed by Commodore James Barron, in a duel, on March 22, 1820.

Decentralization.—Broad construction of the Constitution tends to the centralization of power in the Federal government. Strict construction leads to decentralization, giving more power to the States. (See Construction of the Constitution.)

Declaration of Independence.—The struggle of the American colonies against Great Britain was begun without any general idea of pushing the matter to a separation from the mother country. Though the idea of forming an independent government was favored in New England, it was so distasteful to the other colonies that Congress formally disavowed it July 6, 1775. However, the idea gained ground largely during the following year, and no one thing aided more in its spread than the publication of Thomas Paine's pamphlet, "Common Sense." This struck the keynote of the situation by advocating, with forcible logic, an assertion of independence on the part of the colonies, and the formation of a republican government. The Pennsylvania Legislature so well appreciated the value of Paine's pamphlet that it gave him a grant of $2,500 in consideration of it. In May, 1776, the Virginia Convention instructed its delegates to propose a resolution for independence. This was done June 7 by Richard Henry Lee. In the year 1826, after all save one of the band of patriots whose signatures are borne on the Declaration of Independence had descended to the tomb, and the venerable Carroll alone remained among the living, the government of the City of New York deputed a committee to wait on the illustrious survivor. They obtained from him, for deposit in the public hall of the city, a copy of the Declaration of 1776 graced and authenticated anew with his sign-manual.

On June 10, 1776, the Colonial Congress assembled at Philadelphia, resolved that a committee should be appointed to prepare a declaration "that the United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States." Such action was taken and the committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. A draft was reported by this committee on June 28th. On July 2d a resolution was adopted declaring the colonies free and independent States. Finally, on July 4th, the Declaration of Independence was agreed to, engrossed on paper and signed by John Han

ment and signed with the names given below. The document is almost entirely from the pen of Thomas Jefferson, few changes having been made in his original draft. One of the most striking passages of the original draft, omitted in the declaration as finally adopted, is the following: "He has. waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people, who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Chkistiast King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce; and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished dye, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty, of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them, thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one, people with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another." Below is given the declaration as adopted:


A Declaration by the Representatives o/ the United States of America in Congress assembled, July i, 1776.

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

cock, President.


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 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 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. 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 tvranny over these States. Toprove this, let facts be submitted" to a candid world:

He has refused to 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 meantime, exposed to all the danger of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose, obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration nither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judioiary 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 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 outting 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 benefit of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of Knglish laws in a neighboring 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 powers 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 hisprotection, and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravished 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 or death, desolation and tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralled 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 among 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 attention to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts made by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. we have reminded them of the oiroumstances 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 Su

§reme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, o, 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 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.


New Hampshire.—Josiah Bartlett, Wm. Whipple, Matthew Thornton.

Massachusetts Bay.—Saml. Adams, John Adams, Robt. Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry.

Rhode Island, etc.—Steph. Hopkins, William Ellery.

Connecticut.—Roger Sherman, Sam'l Huntington, Wm. Williams, Oliver Wolcott.

New York,.—Wm. Floyd, Phil. Livingston, Frans. Lewis, Lewis Morris.

New Jersey.—Richd. Stockton, Jno. Witherspoon, Frans. Hopkinson, John Hart, Abra. Clark.

PennsyVoania.—Robt. Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benja. Franklin, John Morton, Geo. Clymer, Jas. Smith, Geo. Taylor, James Wilson, Geo. Ross.

Delaware.—Caasar Rodney, Geo. Read, Tho. M'Kean.

Maryland.—Samuel Chase, Wm. Paca, Thos. Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton.

« ForrigeFortsett »