The Declaration of Independence: The Full Text in English…. and Spanish

Jul 4, 2012
1:37 AM

It is still one of the greatest documents ever written. Take a moment to just read it, and separate it from the historical context and how this country was formed. This Declaration of Independence, signed 236 years ago today, was in its essence, rebellious in nature. A huge FU to a King. The United States was formed through dissent (and many would say violence, genocide, and brutality). But that is not what this post is about. It is about a document that represented the collective minds of a band of white men who where living in the 18th century. Through action, they stood for something. There was a call for equality, even though that equality was very limited in 1776. Still, it was a start. The question for to ask: how does this document apply to us today in 2012? What does it say to us about Americans? Who abuses this document and who tries to be inspired by it? Who uses it to justify hate towards humans and who uses it to promote true equality?

This post not only contains the full text of the Declaration, but also a Spanish translation we found from 1821.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

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 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 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. 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 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 harrass 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
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:
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 compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & 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 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 Brittish 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 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.

Here is an Spanish translation from 1821:


From Semanario Político, Económico y Literario,
Dec. 12, 1821.

Cuando en el curso de los acontecimientos humanos se hace necesario para un pueblo disolver los lazos políticos que le han unido con otro y asumir entre los poderes de la tierra, el rango separado é igual, para el cual lo habilitan las leyes de la naturaleza y de su Autor; un respeto decente por la opinion del género humano requiere que él declare las causas que le impelen á la separacion.

Nosotros creemos ser evidente en sí mismo, que todos los hombres nacen iguales y dotados por su Criador de ciertos derechos inagenables: que entre estos son los principales la seguridad de la libertad y la vida, que constituyen la humana felicidad: que para asegurar estos derechos se instituyeron entre los hombres los gobiernos, derivando sus justos poderes del consentimiento de los pueblos: que siempre que cualquiera forma de gobierno se haga destructiva de estos fines, toca al derecho imprescriptible de la sociedad alterarla, ó abolirla y escablecer otra nueva, zanjando sus fundamentos sobre aquellos principios, y organizando sus poderes de la manera que juzgue mas conducente para el efecto de su seguridad y felicidad. La prudencia á la verdad dicta que los gobiernos establecidos no se varien por causas ligeras y transeuntes; y consta por la esperiencia que el género humano está mas dispuesto á sufrir, mientras que los males son soportables, que á hacerse justicia aboliendo las formas del gobierno á que ha estado acostumbrado. Pero cuando una larga serie de abusos y usurpaciones, continuando invariablemente al mismo fin, hace patente ser el designio de los gobernantes, oprimir al pueblo con absoluto despotismo; toca al derecho de este y á su deber, el desechar un gobierno semejanre y proveer nuevas guardas para su seguridad futura. Tal ha sido el paciente sufrimiento de estas colonias; y tal es ahora la necessidad que las compele á alterar su antiguo sistema. La historia del presente Rey de la Gran-Bretaña, es una historia de repetidas injurias y usurpaciones, cuyo objeto principal es y ha sido el establecimiento de una absoluta tirania sobre estos estados. Para probar esto, sometemos los hechos al juicio de un mundo imparcial.

El ha reusado asentir á las leyes mas convenientes y necesarias al bien público de estas colonias, prohibiendo á sus gobernadores sancionar aun aquellas que eran de inmediata y urgente necesidad á menosque se suspendiese su ejecucion hasta obtener su consentimiento, y estando asi suspensas las ha desatendido enteramente.

Ha reprobado las providencias dictadas para la reparticion de distritos de los pueblos, exigiendo voilentamente que estos renunciasen el derecho de representacion en sus legislaturas, derecho inestimable para ellos, y formidable solo para los tiranos.

Ha convocado cuerpos legislativos fuera de los lugares acostumbrados, y en sidos distantes del depósito de sus registros públicos con el único fin de molestarlos hasta obligarlos á convenir con sus medidas, y cuando estas violencias no han tenido el efecto que se esperaba, se han disuelto las salas de representantes por oponerse firme y valerosamente á las inovaciones proyectadas contra los derechos del pueblo, reusando por largo tiempo despues de desolacion semejante que se eligiesen otros, por lo que los poderes legislativos incapaces de aniquilacion, han recaido sobre el pueblo para su ejercicio, quedando el estado entre tanto, espuesto á todo el peligro de una invasion esterior y de convulsiones internas.

El se ha esforzado á estobar los progresos de la poblacion en estos estados, obtruyendo á este fin las leyes para la naturalizacion de los estrangeros, reusando sancionar otras para promover su establecimiento en ellos, y prohibiéndoles adquirir nuevas propiedades en estos paises.

En el órden judical ha ostruido la administracion de justicia, oponiéndose á las leyes necesarias para consolidar la autoridad de los tribunales, creando jueces que dependen solamente de su voluntad, por recibir de él el nombramiento de sus empleos y pagamento de sus sueldos, y mandando un emjambre de oficiales para oprimir nuestro pueblo y empobrecerlo con sus estafas y rapiñas.

Ha atentado á la libertad civil de los ciudadanos, manteniendo en tiempo de paz entre nosotros tropas armadas, sin el consentimiento de nuestra legislatura: procurando hacer al militar independiente y superior al poder civil: combinando con nuestros vecinos, con plan despódco para sujetarnos á una jurisdiccion estraña á nuestras leyes y no reconocida por nuestra constitucion: destruyendo nuestro tráfico en todas las parte del mundo y poniendo conribuciones sin nuestro consentimiento: privándonos en muchos casos de las defensas que proporciona el juicio por jurados: transportándonos mas allá de los mares para ser juzgados por delitos supuestos: aboliendo el libre sistema de la ley inglesa en una provincia confinante: alterando fundamentalmente las formas de nuestros gobiernos y nuestras propias legislaturas y declarándose el mismo investido con el poder de dictar leyes para nosotros en todos los casps, cualesquiera que fuesen.

El ha abdicado el derecho que tenia para gobernarnos, declarándonos la guerra y poniéndonos fuera de su proteccion: haciendo el pillage en nuestros mares: asolando nuestras costas: quitando la vida á nuestros conciudadanos y poniéndonos á merced de numerosos ejércitos estrangeros para completar la obra de muerte, desolacion y tirania comenzada y continuada con circunstancias de crueldad y pertidia totalmente indignas del gefe de una nacion civilizada.

Ha compelido á nuestros conciudadanos hechos prisioneros en alta mar á llevar armas contra su pátria, constituyéndose verdugos de sus hermanos y amigos: exitando insurrecciones domésticas, y procurando igualmente irritar contra nosotros á los habitantes de las fronteras, los indios bárbaros y feroces cuyo método conocido de hacer la guerra, es la destruccion de todas las edades, sexos y condiciones.

A cada grado de estas opresiones, nosotros hemos suplicado por la reforma en los términos mas humildes: nuestras súplicas han sido contestadas solamente por repetidas injurias. Un príncipe, pues, cuyo caracter está asi marcado por todos los actors que pueden definir á un tirano, no es apto para ser el gobernador de un pueblo libre.

Tampoco hemos faltado á la consideracion debida hácia nuestros hermanos los habitantes de la Gran-Bretaña: les hemos advertido de tiempo en tiempo el atentado cometido por su legislatura en estender una ilegitima jurisdiccion sobre las nuestras. les hemos recordado las circunstancias de nuestra emigracion y establecimiento en estos paises: hemos apelado á su natural justicia y magnanimidad, conjurándolos por los vínculos de nuestro origen comun á renunciar esas usurpaciones que inevitablemente acabarian por interrumpir nuestra correspondencia y conexiones. ellos han sido tambien sordos á la voz de la justicia y consanguinidad.

Nosotros debemos por tanto someternos á la necesidad que anuncia nuestra separacion, y mirarlos como al resto del género humano: enemigos en guerra, y en paz amigos.

Los representantes, pues, de los Estados-Unidos, juntos en Congreso general, apelando al Juez supremo del universo, por la rectitud de nuestras intenciones, en el nombre y con la autoridad del pueblo de estas colonias, publicamos y declaramos: que ellas son, y por derecho deben ser estados libres é independientes: que estan absueltas de toda obligacion de fidelidad á la corona británica: que toda conexion política entre ellas y el estado de las Gran-Bretaña, es y debe ser totalmente disuelta, y que como estados libres é independientes, tienen un pleno poder para hacer la guerra, concluir la paz, contraer alianzas, establecer comercio y hacer todos los otros actos que los estados independientes pueden por derecho efectuar.

Y para sostener esta declaracion, con una firme confianza en la proteccion divina, nosotros empeñamos mutuamente nuestras vidas, nuestras fortunas y nuestro sagrado honor.

Firmado por órden del Congreso.