Thomas Jefferson Knowledge Institute

The Declaration of Independence Part 2

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That to secure these [unalienable] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed... "Just powers" are delegated to the government by our consent. Unjust powers are usurped. Our nation is intended to be a nation of laws crafted by our representatives executing just powers, not breathed into being on the whim of a ruler.

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.

You, not as an individual but as a body politic have another right: The right to "alter or to abolish" your government if it becomes destructive to your unalienable rights, your safety, or your happiness. Abolishing or altering a government is a peaceful revolution. In 2010 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the voters did just that, after being "disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable" under a corrupt county government for years, finally abolishing the county-commissioner government that had grown corrupt, and replacing it with a charter government that has safeguards to prevent corruption.

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The Declaration of Independence at the National Archives

Entire speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by President Calvin Coolidge, July 5, 1926 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence by Rev. Charles A. Goodrich 1837 (7mB file)