When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a person to advance from that subordination to which he or she has been subjected and to assume the equal and independent station to which the laws of nature entitle that person, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that he or she should declare the causes which impel that person to the change.
I hold these truths to be self-evident: that all people are created with equal, independent and unalienable rights; among which are the preservation of their own life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, associations are formed among humans, deriving their just powers from the consent of their members; that whenever any association becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of each member to secede from it, to withdraw financial and other support, and to create or join different associations which lay their foundation on such principles, and organize their powers in such form, as to their members shall seem most likely to effect their safety, enterprise and happiness.
Prudence indeed will dictate that government and other associations long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and people may be more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing or abandoning the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations reveals a design to subject people to the absolute power of a tyranny, it is their right to throw off such government or other association, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient suffering of the undersigned; and such is now the necessity which constrains me to reject the current form of government to which I am subjected. The history of this government is a history of unremitting injuries and usurpations, among which no one fact stands single or solitary to contradict the uniform tenor of the rest; all of which have in direct purpose, the establishment of an absolute tyranny over me and my fellow citizens. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world, for the truth of which I pledge a faith, as yet unsullied by falsehood:
1. The government of the
2. I am forced, by this government's political laws and the police and courts that do its bidding, to contribute to a bankrupt Social Security system that is a tragic fraud. Unlike the savings and investment account I have been told it represents, it more accurately resembles a checking account, from which some people may be given benefits at my expense. None of the current extortion I am forced to pay for this system is being saved, invested, or otherwise allocated to my retirement. Instead, this government uses my involuntary contributions to pay others currently drawing benefits, while promising to continue this theft on the children and grandchildren of this generation to pay for the empty promises made for my retirement. I can no longer tolerate this injustice.
3. The collapse of organized
4. The creation and expansion of
a welfare state in the
5. This government has created political laws which prevent honest people from solving their problems in non-aggressive, voluntary ways. Examples include the establishment of government-protected monopolies for public services and oppressive restrictions on private enterprise and non-aggressive personal behavior. Occupational licensing and minimum wage laws, contrary to their stated purposes, protect established industries and unions from market competition, rather than consumers and most workers. No such government regulation can produce a more beneficial or fair result than the free, unregulated marketplace of human ideas and uncoerced activities.
6. The police of this government
protect neither people nor their property. Instead, the primary mission of this
government's police is to enforce coercive political laws which have been
created at the request of powerful special interest groups. In so doing, this
government's police inadvertently protect criminals, while punishing
non-aggressive people. State and federal crime statistics reveal that violent
and property criminals in the
7. The so-called "war on
drugs" is a cure that is worse than the disease. It has changed a
relatively minor health problem into a popular means for suspending the Bill of
Rights (the only part of the
8. Despite spending more money
per student than either private schools or most other countries, the
9. The U.S. Constitution, as the basis for statutory law in the United States, was never, and can never be, a document by which free and independent people govern themselves. There are three reasons for this:
This document is fundamentally a statement of government - not people - sovereignty.
This document was never executed as a proper contract between any humans, living or dead.
This document has been repeatedly modified to expand government power and to reduce the legal rights of individuals without their consent.
10. The U.S. Government has repeatedly created the conditions for economic, social and military crises, while using each such crisis as an excuse to expand its own power. Specific examples of this include the administration of President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, the creation of the Federal Reserve and the income tax in 1913, and the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930's. It was the artificial expansion of the money supply by the Federal Reserve in the "roaring" 1920's that led directly to the stock market collapse in 1929. President Roosevelt's socialist agenda in the 1930's (the "New Deal") caused the Great Depression to last ten years instead of one. More recent wars, recessions, social unrest and "emergency" presidential power legislation are an extension of this consistent government expansion at the expense of the free markets which humans choose to satisfy their legitimate desires.
11. By forcing over 40 percent of the land in the United States into public ownership, this government has subsidized and encouraged the mismanagement and degradation of natural resources. Public ownership of property, as the fundamental idea behind all forms of socialism, has restricted or eliminated the natural market mechanisms which encourage humans to take care of things they own. By reducing the liability of some property owners for their adverse effects on others, this government has created the false impression that markets, and not this government, are responsible for most environmental problems today. This persistent lie must not remain unchallenged.
12. The U.S. Congress has
consistently subsidized special interest groups at taxpayers' expense, while
restricting the personal freedom of all Americans. This coercive,
unrepresentative body of men and women holds the sole responsibility for the
suffocating public debt, oppressive taxation and ongoing budget deficits that
are destroying the American economy. The fact that a small percentage of the
13. This government has promoted itself as a true, legitimate and representative agent of all Americans, which is an inherent contradiction and unattainable goal. Special interest politics and the fraudulent charades called elections have allowed this government to pretend it has a moral right to control the lives of those who have not consented to be governed by it. Reform of this coercive system of government is hopeless, as naive voters continue to be misled by promises of more benefits without apparent cost.
I therefore reject and renounce all allegiance and subjection to any person, association, majority, or government that I have not voluntarily and explicitly chosen as my personal representative. I assert and declare myself to be a free, sovereign and independent person, and as such I have the right to regulate my own affairs, decide which products, services, charities and causes to support; and to do all other things which independent persons may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, I pledge my life, my property, and my sacred honor.
A Friend of Thomas Paine
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A book describing the Personal Declaration is also available from
The book describes the world-changing nature of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, the mystery of its authorship (was Thomas Jefferson REALLY the author?), and a detailed discussion of 13 new grievances against current government, complete with multiple references for each one.
"The independence of the individual from coercive government will become more important for humankind than the independence of the American colonies from Great Britain."
-Quote from the book, A PERSONAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
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