A Modern Declaration
The Declaration of Independence as it would read today
In 1921, 145 years after the Declaration of Independence was written, H.L. Mencken decided it needed an update.
So he wrote The Declaration of Independence in American, which was colloquial, to say the least. It began:
“When things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country…”
But it seems that 101 years later, it needs to be updated again for a 21st century audience.
The best I could find is one from 2012, which has the original Declaration along with a modern translation.
Oh, and if you’d like to listen to a discussion about patriotism while you’re working your way through this, Tom Morris is a great companion:
The Declaration of Independence (Modern Translation)
[For comparison, here’s the original.]
When it becomes necessary to end one political process due to lack of representation, it’s only fair to list the reasons why.
We believe everyone is created equal, and should be afforded the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as they see it. We believe these rights a fundamental truth, and no government’s right to curtail, now, and forever more.
That to protect these rights, governments are designed by and get their powers from its People. And when any design of government begins to remove their freedoms, it’s the sole responsibility of the People to repair or replace it.
We shouldn’t change government lightly, however, for when we do, people suffer. Therefore, it’s important that whatever form of governing process we agree on, we build it well. When however through ANY actions this governing body we create, seeks to reduce our civil liberties, or reduce our ability to self-govern, it’s not only our right, it’s our civic obligation within any real Republic to amend or throw off such governments, and provide a new governing body that supports civil liberties for all, now, and for future generations. To enjoy civil liberties, our participation in maintaining their security lands squarely on us, those who live under them.
Looking at the King of England’s record, it’s clear England wants total control of our colonies, compromising our liberties. Here are our facts-
He won’t allow us to create our own laws, a fundamental need for things to work here.
He won’t let us pass important laws we need now. He’s got to sign off on them and when he doesn’t, we suffer.
He’s refused to let us pass laws affecting large groups of people in our colonies unless they swore allegiance to him even though they’ve had the right to self-govern, clearly showing he’s a tyrant.
He requests meetings of our representatives in far away cold, and strange places for the purpose of wearing them down into submission so they’ll agree with him.
He’s disbanded our leaders whenever we complain about human rights abuses.
By not allowing us to self-govern in any capacity, it opens our colonies up for corruption from within as well as from outside.
He fights to control our colony’s population, immigration, ownership of land, and expansion.
He’s made it difficult to practice the law here, wanting himself to be the ultimate judge and jury.
He’s sent over crooks who he calls judges to dispense his will through courts without trial or jury.
He’s created new offices whose staff beat business down through harassment to enforce his will upon us.
He’s sent the Army to watch over us, when we didn’t need or want them.
He’s done everything to make his army bigger than our system of law, and our ability to carry out justice.
He refuses to acknowledge our own laws, and tells us we have to follow his laws instead.
For breaking up our military so as to make them vulnerable, and controllable.
For protecting any of the British military personnel by mock trial from going to jail for any reason, allowing them operate outside our own laws.
For cutting off our trade with other countries.
For adding taxes without our consent.
For taking away our right to trial by jury in many cases.
For kidnapping our citizens only to be tried and convicted outside our colonies, and our own laws.
For taking us, one of England’s provinces, removing our laws, forcing his own body of laws on us, and expanding its boundary and making it an example of rule of law others must follow or else.
For taking away our charters [forms of legislature] that allow us to govern.
For suspending our own laws, and forcing his own system of justice down our throats.
For disowning our government, and for declaring war on us for having the desire to self-govern.
He has over-fished our waters, burnt up our towns, and destroyed the lives of many people within our colonies.
Right this very moment, he’s sending over a large army of mercenaries with no morals to kill and torture everyone now that he’s ruined our laws protecting the common man. If you think we’ve been repressed up to now, expect the worst you can imagine.
He has kidnapped citizens of our colony on the high seas, and turned them into his own soldiers only to fight their own brothers and sisters here.
He has manipulated people and groups within our colony to fight each other, and wants rule of law similar to those savage Native Americans who live by war destroying everyone under any conditions. [Guerrilla warfare is probably what they’re talking about here since war prior to that had been fought face to face in broad daylight]
With every action above, we’ve petitioned, and been told in return to “suck it up.” By this alone, it’s time to stand up for ourselves as free people, and kick this tyrant out.
We don’t like making waves. And we’ve warned England from time to time we’ll govern ourselves, reminding England the conditions of our own immigration and settling here. We’ve asked nicely, yet even when we've shown them how it’s bad business for everyone, they just won’t listen. So it’s up to us to fight for our fundamental rights, and anyone who’s opposed to this inside or out of our borders is our enemy, and anyone forging to expand civil liberties, our friend.
So we the representatives of the people living within these unified States of America gathered here under one roof declare to the supreme judge of the world we are free. We declare we are no longer under the British crown’s rule, and all political connections are hereby over. These Free and Independent States of America have full power to each build partnerships, do business, go to war, or negotiate peace. To show we mean what we say, we offer each other our lives, our fortunes, and our integrity.
Thanks, and I’ll see you on the internet.