THE FOLLOWING is a simplified-english version of the original Declaration of Independence. This version has been simplified to be easily understood and translated into 180 world languages. The text and images of the original document can be referenced online at the US National Archives.
Declaration of Independence
Consider this Universal Truth: All Mankind is endowed by our Creator with certain absolute, inalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. To safeguard these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their limited and specific powers from the consent of its People.
Whenever any Form of Government forfeits this objective for its own greed and self-interest, it is the People’s right and duty to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Form of Government whose singular purpose is to protect these God-Given Freedoms for all of its People.
We should be very careful when deciding to fundamentally change our Government, especially if it has existed for many years. Experience has shown that Citizens are more willing to suffer than to fundamentally change that which they are accustomed, as long as suffering is not too much to bear.
But when a long list of Power Abuses arise, and they all suggest the Government is corrupting into a dangerous state of oppressive control over its Citizens, it is the Right and Duty of the People to throw off such Government, and institute a new form of Government which can better protect these God-Given Freedoms for themselves and their Children.
After years of silent suffering, the People have finally decided they have been abused too much. Now is the time to end the old Government and establish a new form of government. The current Government has a long history of repeated abuses, all indicating a dangerous move toward total and oppressive control. To prove this, we will create a list of these abuses, for the world to judge:
List of Abuses
- Our current Government refuses to enforce critical Federal laws we need, and threatens to veto new Federal laws that we want.
- When the States pass civil laws, the Congress or the Federal Courts strike them down. Sometimes the Court entangles and suspends the cases, and sometimes when we do want to Supreme Court to rule, it refuses to hear the case.
- Confiscates large tracts of land under Federal jurisdiction and then rules them with unelected Federal bureaucracies, trampling and ignoring local laws, governments, and our right to be represented in the process.
- Plays games with schedules and holds secret, closed-door meetings so that our representatives are either out of town, or locked out of important decisions and votes.
- When it appears that someone will actually stand up to the tyranny, that person is locked out, intimidated, or marginalized in the media in order to ignore or silence all opposition.
- Leaves the people and the States vulnerable to violence and tyranny because their representatives are ridiculed and left powerless to act on matters critical to their state’s security.
- Obstructed justice by refusing to make its judges and officials play by the same rules as everyone else.
- Only appoints judges that agree with it and which it can control
- Grows the size and power of government with all kinds of new unelected bureaucrats
- Sends out armed agents to harass people with all kinds of rules and regulations, and imposes taxes, fines, and fees to target those of opposing political viewpoints
- Maintains a standing army among us during peacetime without any declaration of war from Congress
- Has militarized both federal and local police and has made them unaccountable to local people and a threat to local freedoms
- Has combined the President’s powers with those of Congress to override the Constitution and our State and local laws
- Maintains huge military bases abroad and forces us to pay for them
- Shields government agents from punishment for offenses and even murders they should commit on the people
- Deals unjustly with our trade and markets throughout the world.
- Imposes all kinds of taxes, fines, and fees on us without our consent
- Denies the right to trial by a jury of our peers in many cases
- Hauls us off to distant prisons on false charges
- Abolishes common law and establishes arbitrary government throughout the courts
- Overrides State constitutions, striking down our most important laws, and manipulating our state and local governments
- Replaces the role of State and local legislatures with Federal laws and bureaucrats
- Ignores the people when they need government, and leaves us at the mercy of its armed agents and bureaucrats
- Takes everything it wants, and destroys anything that stands in its way, including people
- Enacts policies that cripple our free economy, plunder our middle class, lead our towns to desolation, and destroy the livelihoods of our people
- Lets foreign criminals and domestic aggressors train on our soil for war against us, and would not hesitate to employ them in the destruction of our liberties
- Refuses to regulate immigration, citizenship and naturalization laws in a way that protects the security, livelihood and economic prosperity of our citizens.
- Allows, and peddles as progress, cruelties more fitting to the ages of barbarism than anything ever accepted in modern civilization
- Indoctrinates our own children to organize against us. Our own sons and daughters are prepared and conditioned to be our nation’s destroyers, and to give their lives in doing so if necessary.
- Insights riots among us, and has created class warfare that leads to violence against man, woman, and child alike, as well as the destruction of property.
- Right this very moment, he’s sending over a large army of mercenaries with no morals to kill and torture everyone now that he’s ruined our laws protecting the common man. If you think we’ve been repressed up to now, expect the worst you can imagine.
- He has kidnapped citizens of our colony on the high seas, and turned them into his own soldiers only to fight their own brothers and sisters here.
- He has manipulated people and groups within our colony to fight each other, and wants rule of law similar to those savage Native Americans who live by war destroying everyone under any conditions. (Guerrilla warfare is probably what they’re talking about here since war prior to that had been fought face to face in broad daylight).
With every action above, we have repeatedly and respectfully petitioned, using every available legal option. Yet we have been ignored, ridiculed, vilified, bullied and punished. This behavior is only what a Tyrant would do, so now is the time to stand up for ourselves as Free People, and shut this Tyrant down.
We don’t like making waves. We have warned [England] that we prefer to handle our own local affairs, and reminded [England] of the deal we made when we formed this country. We have tried to find common ground so they might respect our requests, but they still spit on us. So now we are ready to fight for our fundamental rights. Anyone who is opposed, inside or out of our borders, is our enemy. Anyone who supports the fight for our freedom, is our friend.
So we, the Representatives of the People living within these unified States of America, gather together to declare to the Supreme Judge of the world, that we are Free. We declare that we are no longer under [British] rule, and that all political connections are hereby over. These Free and Independent States of America now have full power to build partnerships, do business, go to war, or negotiate peace. To show that we mean what we say, we offer each other our lives, our fortunes, and our integrity.
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Massachusetts: John Hancock
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire, Matthew Thornton