"Working together for a free Cuba"





Action of Second Continental 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 ex posed 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 and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the
most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized

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

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.

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.


May 25, 1787: The Constitutional Convention opens with a quorum of
seven states in Philadelphia to discuss revising the Articles of
Confederation. Eventually all states but Rhode Island are represented.
Sept. 17, 1787: All 12 state delegations approve the Constitution,
39 delegates sign it of the 42 present, and the Convention formally

June 21, 1788: The Constitution becomes effective for the ratifying
states when New Hampshire is the ninth state to ratify it.
March 4, 1789: The first Congress under the Constitution convenes in
New York City.

April 30, 1789: George Washington is inaugurated as the first President
of the United States.

June 8, 1789: James Madison introduces proposed Bill of Rights in the
House of Representatives.

Sept. 24, 1789: Congress establishes a Supreme Court, 13 district
courts, three ad hoc circuit courts, and the position of Attorney

Sept. 25, 1789: Congress approves 12 amendments and sends them to the
states for ratification.

Feb. 2, 1790: Supreme Court convenes for the first time after an
unsuccessful attempt February 1.

Dec. 15, 1791: Virginia ratifies the Bill of Rights, and 10 of the
12 proposed amendments become part of the U.S. Constitution.


Article, Section Page
Admiralty & maritime cases III,2 13
Advice and consent II,2 11
Age, as qualification for public
president II,1 10
representatives I,2 1
senators I,3 3
voting A26 34
Case controversies III,2 13
President's power II,2-3 11-12
Amendment procedure V 15
Appellate jurisdiction III,2 13
Appointment power II,2 11-12
Appointments, temporary A17 28
Apportionment of
representatives I,2;A14,2 1-2,26
Appropriations(s) I,8,9 7,8
Arms, right to bear A2 21
Army II,2 11
Assembly, right of A1 21
Authors I,8 6
Bail, excessive A8 23
Bankruptcy, Congress' power I,8 6
Bill of Rights (Amends. 1-10) A1-A10 21-23
Bills I,7 5-6
Bills of attainder I,9-10 8
Borrowing, Congress' power I,8 6
Cabinet officers' reports II,2 11
Census I,2 1-2
Chief Justice, role in
impeachment trials I,3 3
Commander in Chief II,2 11
Commerce, Congress' power I,8 6
Commission of officers II,3 12
Compact I,10 9
annual meetings I,4;A20,2 3-4,29
declaring war I,8 6
legislative proceedings I,5 4
members' compensation and
privileges I,6;A27 4-5,34
organization I,1 1
powers I,8;A12 6-7,24-25
special sessions II,3 12
Congressional Record (Journal) I,5 4
Constitution, purpose Preamble 1

Article, Section Page
Contracts, interference by states I,10 8
Controversies, court cases III,2 13
Conventions V;VII;A21 15,16,30
Copyrights & patents,
Congress' power I,8 6
Counsel, right to A6 22
Counterfeiting, Congress'
power to punish I,8 6
Courts (see Judiciary)
Criminal proceedings, rights of
accused A5;A6 22
Currency, Congress' power I,8 6
Defense, Congress' power I,8 6
District of Columbia I,8;A23 7,31
Double jeopardy A5 22
Due process of law A5;A14,1 22,25-16
Electoral College II,1;A12;A23 9-11,24-25
Equal protection of laws A14,1 25-26
Equity III,2;A11 13,23
Ex post facto laws I,9-10 8
Extradition of fugitives by states IV,2 14
Fines, excessive A8 23
Foreign affairs, President's
power II,2 11-12
Foreign commerce, Congress'
power I,8 6
“Full faith and credit” clause IV,1 14
General welfare, Congress'
power I,8 6
Grand jury indictments A5 22
Grievances, redress of A1 21
Habeas corpus I,9 8
House of Representatives
election to & eligibility for I,2 1
members' terms of office I,2;I,6 1,4
Speaker of I,2;A24;A25,3-4 2,32-33
special powers
impeachment I,2 2
Presidential elections II,1;A12 9-10,24-25
revenue bills I,7 5
states' representation in I,2 1-2
vacancles I,2 2
Immunities (see Privileges and
officials subject to II,4 12
penalties I,3 3
power of, lodged in House I,2 2
reasons II,4 12
trials, Senate I,3 3

Article, Section Page
Indians, commerce with,
Congress' power I,8 6
Inhabitant (see Resident) I,2;I,3 1,3
International law, Congress'
power I,8 6
Inventors I,8 6
inferior courts I,8;III,1 6,12
judicial review III,2 13
jurisdiction III,2 13
nomination & confirmation of
judges II,2 11-12
Supreme Court III,1 12
terms of office &
compensation III,1 12
Jury trials III,2;A6;A7 13,22,23
“Lame duck” amendment A20 29
Liquor A18;A21 28,30
Marque and reprisal, letters of I,8,10 6,8
Men (see Persons)
Militia (Military) A2;A5 21,22
congressional powers I,8 7
presidential powers II,2 11-12
Money I,8 6
National debt VI 15-16
Native Americans (see Indians)
Naturalization I,8 6
Navy I,8;II,2 7,11
“Necessary and proper” clause I,8 7
Nominate II,2;A25 11,32
Oath of office, federal and state II,1;VI 11,16
Original Jurisdiction III,2 13
Pardons and reprieves,
President's power II,2 11
People, powers reserved to A10 23
Persons A14 25-26
Petition the government,
right to A1 21
“Pocket veto” I,7 5
Poll tax, prohibition A24,1 32
Post offices & roads, Congress'
power I,8 6
Presidency, succession to II,1;A20;A25 10-11,29-30
President 32-33
disability A25,3 32-33
election II,1;A12;A22 9-10,24-25,
A23 31,31-32
eligibility for office II,1 10
legislation, role in I,7 5

Article, Section Page
oath of office II,1 11
powers & duties II,2-3 11-12
term of office & compensation II,1 9-11
Press, freedom of A1 21
Privileges and immunities (of
citizens) IV,2;A14,1 14,25-26
Prohibition A18;A21 28,30
Property, taking for public use A5 22
Punishments, cruel and
unusual A8 23
Race A15 27
Ratification of Constitution V;VII 15,16
Religion, freedom of A1 21
Religious oaths VI 16
Resident (see Inhabitant) II,1 10
Search and seizure A4 22
Seas, Congress' power I,8 6
Secrecy I,5 4
Self-incrimination A5 22
election to & eligibility for I,3 3
equal representation of states V 15
officers I,3 3
President of I,3;A12 3,24-25
President of, pro tempore I,3;A25,3-4 3,32-33
special powers
impeachment trials I,3 3
Presidential appointments II,2 11-12
treaties II,2 11-12
terms of office I,3;I,6 2,4
vacancies A17 27-28
Slavery, prohibition A13;A14,4 25,26-27
Soldiers, quartering of A3 21
Speech, freedom of A1 21
Spending, Congress' power I,8 6
State of Union message II,3 12
and federal elections I,4 3
formation & admission to
Union IV,3 14
powers requiring consent of
Congress I,10 8-9
powers reserved to A10 23
protection against invasion,
violence IV,4 15
republican form of
government guaranteed IV,4 15
suits against III,2;A11 13,23-24

Articles, Section Page
Sundays I,7 5
Supreme law of the land
(Constitution) VI 15-16
Taxing power, in general I,7-8 5-6
direct taxes prohibited I,9 8
income taxes permitted A16 27
Territories IV,3 14-15
Titles of nobility I,9 8
Treason III,3 13
Treaty(ies) I,10;II,2; 8,11,13
III,2;VI 15-16
Trial I,3;III,2; 3,13,22,23
Veto, President's power I,7 5
Vice-Presidency, succession to A20;A25 29-30,32-33
conditions for assuming
Presidency II,1;A20;A25 10,29-30
declaring President disabled,
role in A25,4 33
Senate, role in I,3;A12 3,24-25
term of office II,1 9
Voting rights A14;A24 25-27,32
blacks, former slaves A15,1 27
eighteen-years-old A26 34
women A19 29
War powers (see Congress,
declaring, war powers;
President, powers & duties;
States, protection against
Warrants A4 22
Weights and measures
standards of I,8 6
Women (see Persons)