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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, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the work 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 excited domestic insurrection among us, and has endeavoured 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.

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 bands.

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 injuries. 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 connection 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 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.

JOHN HANCOCK.

New Hampshire JOSIAH BARTLETT, WILLIAM WHIPPLE, MATTHEW THORNTON.

Massachusetts Bay SAMUEL ADAMS, JOAN 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 CÆSAR RODNEY, GEORGE READ, THOMAS M'KEAN.

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.

THE ORDINANCE OF 1787. While the Constitutional Convention was sitting in Philadelphia, the Congress, in session in New York City, adopted a law, framed by a committee of which Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, was chairman, “ An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the Ohio."

This territory had been ceded to the general government by the states laying claim to it, and was comprised of what is now known as the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

A plan had been adopted by Congress in 1784 for the government of the Northwest Territory, which was superseded by the Ordinance of 1787. This law is considered one of the most important ever enacted in the United States, as it abolished primogeniture and forbade slavery in the territory affected. Taken in conjunction with the fact that by treaty between the general government and the Six Nations, the Wyandottes, the Delawares, and the Shawnees, the Indian titles to 17,000,000 acres of land in the territory had been extinguished, the enactment of this law led to the rapid settlement of the lands on the north of the Ohio River. Within a year twenty thousand immigrants had settled in the territory, the beginning of the growth of the great West.

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