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 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 …
… 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 to 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 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 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 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 dangers 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 hither, and raising the conditions 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 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 legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to 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 mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting 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 benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
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 once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in 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 themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled 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 amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is 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 by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances 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 Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, 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, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, 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 York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
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
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
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776
A few years ago, when we moved to Alaska from North Carolina, I was very excited about the change. We had been stationed at Fort Bragg for 12 years and had grown to see it as home, but a new adventure was ahead of us. After all those years in one place, we were going to miss all of the usual things – our home, our friends (12 years is a lifetime in military time!) but some of the things I was going to miss were things others might not think of. One of those was being able to pick the wild blackberries that grow in abundance in the Carolinas. I would pick gallons and gallons of them every summer in my special “secret berry patch.” And each summer, I would make blackberry jelly, preserves, gobs of cobblers and other desserts.
Like everything else that comes with a military move, we learn and adapt to our new environment, community and home. The first summer we spent in Alaska, my husband was deployed for the 5th time to Iraq, and I was really anxious to get out there and partake in the natural bounty of the Alaskan tundra. I had made a new dear friend by the name of Mary. Mary and I loaded up one day with the kiddos and headed for the wilderness. We were after berries. Not the fat, shiny blackberries of the Carolinas, no, these were small, deeply flavored wild blueberries! My new friend and I spent the whole afternoon picking these amazingly flavorful berries. We worked our way along the mountainside, surrounded by breathtaking views – and keeping a sharp eye out for the bears that loved the berries, too! A few short weeks later, after the first frost in August this same mountainside was again the destination for a day of berry picking. This time it wasn’t for blueberries, but for the blood red wild cranberries that grew all over the tundra as well.
As is always prone to happen with military life, Mary moved away to Fort Campbell. I didn’t find myself without a berry-picking partner for long though, as a few months later, I had a new neighbor by the name of Erain. She shared with me a great wild red raspberry patch, and I shared with her my blueberry and cranberry spot. Erain was a great neighbor, and was just adventurous as I was about taking advantage of natural abundance and finding ways to put it to use or preserve it. I made many things with the wild berries we picked; blueberry muffins, homemade cranberry sauce, jellies made with a mix of berries, orange cranberry bread, and other goodies.
We recently PCSed from Alaska and are now in the land of grits and sweet tea, also known as Alabama. And while I learn my way around another new town, find the order of the aisles at a new commissary and find places for the contents of the last couple boxes – I look forward to the new adventures that will greet us here. I look forward to the new friends I will make, and the things we will learn from one another. Any maybe, just maybe, I’ll make this bread for them and share my Alaska stories, and they can share their stories of their last duty station with me.
To begin, grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Set it aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda and a teaspoon of salt.
Stir these together and set it aside.
In another bowl, beat an egg, then add in 3/4 cup of milk…
a 1/4 cup of melted butter…
along with 1 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 Tb vanilla. Whisk those together until smooth.
Pour the liquid into the dry mixture, and stir together until just combined.
Add in the zest of an orange…
A generous cup of dried cranberries…
and a half cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.
Fold these all together.
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with a tablespoon or so of raw/demerrera sugar.
Bake for 75-80 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.
Carefully remove it from the loaf pan and cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
An excerpt of this appears on Military Spouse Magazine’s website, along with the recipe.
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Baking soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¾ cup Milk
- ¼ cup Butter, melted
- 1 ¼ c Brown Sugar
- 1 Tb vanilla
- zest of an orange
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 cup (generous) dried cranberries
- 1 Tb raw/Demerara Sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, with oven rack in the lower-middle setting. Grease & flour a 9x5 loaf pan, set it aside for now.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set it aside.
- In another bowl, mix together the egg, milk, butter, vanilla, brown sugar and orange zest.
- Add the liquids to the dry mixture, and stir it together until it just combined. Fold in the nuts and cranberries. Pour the batter into the loaf pan, smoothing the top with your spoon or spatula. Sprinkle the raw sugar over the top of the bread. Bake this for 75-80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge, and then remove the bread from the pan. Cool it on a baking rack.