The Declaration of Independence
 

 

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 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.

This is the first break in the rhythm of the declaration and the emotions are left suspended. It's rational until this point. The Declaration was to begin to gradually introduce emotions but Ben I think came up with 'self evident' part and that ruined the slow transition*.

Next are the principles of government in brief and what necessitates the need for changes. Notice every statements is very direct.

--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.

This is the second break.

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.

Next is a direct statement of Kiing George III's guilt. It's not vague and was certainly understood by the common people of England who had also felt his tyranny. It's directness brought out every feeling people had about the King and since there were so many bad feelings about him it left them in a highly agitated state.

The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] 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.

After reading the preceeding about King George III most Americans were upset and they did not wish to control their anger. In fact they wanted to direct it at him. About 90% of the English also went off on the king when they read the Declaration of Independence.

Now comes comes the rapid series of almost lyrical statements of fact. Each one is designed to elicit a single strong basic emotion very clearly. which is often very different from the emotion evoked by the preceeding statement. I tried to alternate the emotions as much as possible. This is repeated ~30 times.

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 mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations 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 legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the 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 a 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 offences:

This next part is what Ben had me put in.

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring 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 into these Colonies:

I was trying to use direct statements to get the American people in a outrage by presenting the King as human. It was very simply, American vs King George.

And then Ben Franklin decides that his study guide has to be put in the middle of this build up with his teasing allusion to Canada. It takes your attention away from King George III by blunting the effect I was trying for. I feel that if Ben had left it alone then it would have gotten several other countries to rebel. I wanted to get Latin America and Canada to also declare their independence.

The effect of adding this Canadian experience is similar to this: You're making love with your girlfriend and your uncle Ben, who you told previously about your new girlfriend, walks into the room unannounced and asks you where you and your girlfriend are planning to go for your honeymoon

He had me write his 'study guide' in the bottom margin of the second page as you can see. This is the original rough draft which is in the Library of Congress Next time I won't leave Ben any margins to put his 'study guide' into.

He ruined the effect.

After 240 years of reflecting on this (I don't hold a grudge for very long do I?) I have come to realize that probably the declaration would have inflamed a lot more people to rebel if Ben had not added this part. The problem was it would have most likely been the Irish that rebelled. Then when the English had finished ruthlessly putting them back in their place they would have sailed to America with about 3 times the army that they brought across during our revolution and done the same thing to us. After all this time I guess I have to admit that Ben probably knew or at least sensed the right thing to do better than I did.

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.

These are more of the 30 thrusting statements.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat 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.

It is near the end since suddenly you read the words 'at this time' which makes every single thing that has been stated so far into being very imperative. Finally it goes into the final orgasm of pain, anger and anguish.

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 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.

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 attentions 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.

Next are the resolutions and the promises that you make to each other before you fall asleep.

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.

I made the relationship between King George and Americans very personal and an alegory to all one sided relationships. Every child can relate to the oppresive nature of the apparent parent child relationship. Almost every English woman of all classes (and lower class men) in that male aristocrat dominated society related to the Declaration of Independence. These people were the parts of English society that I targeted. What shocked me were the frustrated English women in oppresive sexual relationships. About half of these women immediately became enraged almost to violence when they first read this. A few even wanted to come fight for America.

* I was trying to build a case for the Declaration as if it was a court case. When you first present a case in court you have to establish a foundation. And to do this you have to use logic. Once you have a foundation based on logic then you can hypothesize as well as understand what is evident and what isn't. You can't make a highly emotional statement at first.

As you can see on the original someone (probably Ben) changed one sentence near the beginning to read 'self evident'. That was to early in the text to go with something so vague and emotional. Truth is not really self evident. Say for instance that you grew up in Russia where only lies are 'evident' and the truth has not been heard in 500 years.

I did not change this part so I'm innocent. You can't read what my original words were so Ben really wanted them to be used. Legitimate Attorneys learn not to strike words so that they become illegible. Attorneys need to be able to trace back to the original words in documents for numerous legal reasons. Probably Ben did it. As an editor his words were final so he probably scratched mine out fully so that no one could ever change them back. No, (I don't hold a grudge for very long do I?

 

 

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2004 John Pinil