《独立宣言》及随想

 

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
  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 [George III] 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 meantime 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 harass 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 complete 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 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 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 the 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.

 

 

我不知道别人第一次读完这个仅有1000多字的《独立宣言》的时候是什么感觉,但对我来说,这绝对是个moved to tears的东西。

像是Will Smith在《幸福来敲门》当中说的,他不知道为什么两百多年前他们的祖先就想到人们需要the equal rights to pursue happiness.

两百多年前,当莱克星顿的枪声打响,当美国再没有回头路,十三个殖民地的代表坐下来做出了反抗的决定,随之颁布了《独立宣言》。

这不是一个完整的文件,只有很少的字数,很简单的思维,甚至是有点理想化的构想,它甚至不是一部可以引用的法律。

但就是在这个文件影响和奠定之下,美国的《权利法案》腾空而生,政治、经济开始有了起色直至腾飞,甚至在法院的案件不知怎么判决的时候,他们仍然会想到《独立宣言》中关于“人人平等”的表述,这也是后来平权法案出台的背景。

也就是在看完林达的书之后,看完《独立宣言》之后,我萌发了精英治国的想法。

如果没有精英,如果不是当年对于三权分立的构想和果断付诸行动的胆识,如果不是13州代表的妥协退让、对政治的尊重和对人民的尊重,我们永远没有机会看到今日的美国。是他们的祖先,他们的精英,为这个国家的发展奠定了最扎实的基础。

程序的重要性,在美国的法律、社会中得到了最真实完整的体现,有时甚至严格的让人诧异而敬佩。但同时,每当我看到《独立宣言》,我就会克制不住地想起,两百多年以前,在弗吉尼亚,那些代表们曾有过的,最美的梦想。

 

 

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