had been stricken out; and the earnestness of
Chap. LXX.} 1776. July 2-4.
the denunciation lost its author no friends.
All other changes and omissions in Jefferson
's paper were either insignificant, or much for the better; rendering its language more terse, more dispassionate, and more exact; and in the evening of the fourth day of July, New York still abstaining from the vote, twelve States, without one negative, agreed to this Declaration by the Representatives
of the United States of America
in Congress assembled:
When, in the course of human events, it be- comes 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, 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,