IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have con nected 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.
Written by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence remains one of this country’s most cherished symbols of liberty. It eloquently expresses the freedoms on which this nation was founded. In writing thi s document, Jefferson expressed the deeply held convictions in the hearts and minds of thee Colonists yearning for freedom and self-government. Over the years, however, some have suggested this country has lost track of the original intent of Jefferson and others associated with the creation of this remarkable document. Has the United States lived up the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence? Tell us what you think by sending your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or firstname.lastname@example.orgâ€‰ . Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.
You also can go to www.johnsoncitypress. com to cast a vote in the online poll. Results of the poll and comments from readers will appear on this page July 12.