Stated: The Declaration Of Independence

Twenty-four years ago, Morning Edition launched what has become an Independence Day tradition: hosts, reporters, newscasters and commentators reading the Declaration of Independence.

It was 236 years ago this Wednesday that church bells rang out over Philadelphia, as the Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Below is the original text of the Declaration, alongside photos of the NPR staff members and contributors who performed the reading.

Declaration Of Independence

The original text of the Declaration of Independence, with photos of NPR staff and contributors who performed the reading:

  • Steve Inskeep

    Steve Inskeep i i
    Doby Photography/NPR
    Steve Inskeep
    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

  • Renee Montagne

    Renee Montagne i i

    hide captionRenee Montagne

    Doby Photography/NPR
    Renee Montagne

    Renee Montagne

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

  • Paul Brown

    Paul Brown i i

    hide captionPaul Brown

    Doby Photography/NPR
    Paul Brown

    Paul Brown

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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,

  • Jean Cochran

    Jean Cochran i i

    hide captionJean Cochran

    Doby Photography/NPR
    Jean Cochran

    Jean Cochran

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

  • Julie McCarthy

    Julie McCarthy i i

    hide captionJulie McCarthy

    Wen Wang
    Julie McCarthy

    Julie McCarthy

    Wen Wang

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

  • Don Gonyea

    Don Gonyea i i

    hide captionDon Gonyea

    Doby Photography/NPR
    Don Gonyea

    Don Gonyea

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

  • Deborah Amos

    Deborah Amos i i

    hide captionDeborah Amos

    Steve Barrett
    Deborah Amos

    Deborah Amos

    Steve Barrett

    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.

  • Chris Arnold

    Chris Arnold i i

    hide captionChris Arnold

    Doby Photography /NPR
    Chris Arnold

    Chris Arnold

    Doby Photography /NPR

    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.

  • Mike Pesca

    Mike Pesca

    hide captionMike Pesca

    David Banks

    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.

  • Tamara Keith

    Tamara Keith i i

    hide captionTamara Keith

    Doby Photography/NPR
    Tamara Keith

    Tamara Keith

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

  • Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

    Lourdes Garcia-Navarro i i

    hide captionLourdes Garcia-Navarro

    Dario Lopez Mills
    Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

    Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

    Dario Lopez Mills

    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.

  • Sylvia Poggioli

    Sylvia Poggioli i i

    hide captionSylvia Poggioli

    Kainaz Amaria/NPR
    Sylvia Poggioli

    Sylvia Poggioli

    Kainaz Amaria/NPR

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

  • David Greene

    David Greene i i

    hide captionDavid Greene

    David Gilkey/NPR
    David Greene

    David Greene

    David Gilkey/NPR

    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.

  • Cheryl Corley

    Cheryl Corley i i

    hide captionCheryl Corley

    Steve Barrett/NPR
    Cheryl Corley

    Cheryl Corley

    Steve Barrett/NPR

    He has endeavored 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.

  • Nina Totenberg

    Nina Totenberg i i

    hide captionNina Totenberg

    Steve Barrett/NPR
    Nina Totenberg

    Nina Totenberg

    Steve Barrett/NPR

    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.

  • Eric Westervelt

    Eric Westervelt i i

    hide captionEric Westervelt

    NPR
    Eric Westervelt

    Eric Westervelt

    NPR

    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.

  • Elizabeth Blair

    Elizabeth Blair i i

    hide captionElizabeth Blair

    Doby Photography/NPR
    Elizabeth Blair

    Elizabeth Blair

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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:

  • Adam Davidson

    Adam Davidson i i

    hide captionAdam Davidson

    Jay Paul
    Adam Davidson

    Adam Davidson

    Jay Paul

    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.

  • Robert Smith

    Robert Smith i i

    hide captionRobert Smith

    Steve Barrett/NPR
    Robert Smith

    Robert Smith

    Steve Barrett/NPR

    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.

  • Mara Liasson

    Mara Liasson i i

    hide captionMara Liasson

    Doby/NPR
    Mara Liasson

    Mara Liasson

    Doby/NPR

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences, For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring 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.

  • Linda Wertheimer

    Linda Wertheimer i i

    hide captionLinda Wertheimer

    Steve Barrett
    Linda Wertheimer

    Linda Wertheimer

    Steve Barrett

    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.

  • Tom Goldman

    Tom Goldman i i

    hide captionTom Goldman

    Steve Barrett
    Tom Goldman

    Tom Goldman

    Steve Barrett

    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.

  • Jackie Northam

    Jackie Northam i i

    hide captionJackie Northam

    skphotomedia
    Jackie Northam

    Jackie Northam

    skphotomedia

    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 & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

  • Michele Kelemen

    Michele Keleman i i

    hide captionMichele Keleman

    Doby/NPR
    Michele Keleman

    Michele Keleman

    Doby/NPR

    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.

  • Ari Shapiro

    Ari Shapiro i i

    hide captionAri Shapiro

    Doby Photography /NPR
    Ari Shapiro

    Ari Shapiro

    Doby Photography /NPR

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored 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.

  • Richard Knox

    Richard Knox

    hide captionRichard Knox

    Jacques Coughlin

    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.

  • Susan Stamberg

    Susan Stamberg i i

    hide captionSusan Stamberg

    Doby Photography/NPR
    Susan Stamberg

    Susan Stamberg

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

  • Scott Horsley

    Scott Horsley i i

    hide captionScott Horsley

    Doby Photography/NPR
    Scott Horsley

    Scott Horsley

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

  • Cokie Roberts

    Cokie Roberts i i

    hide captionCokie Roberts

    Steve Fenn/ABC, Inc.
    Cokie Roberts

    Cokie Roberts

    Steve Fenn/ABC, Inc.

    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.

  • Renee Montagne

    Renee Montagne

    hide captionRenee Montagne

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

  • Steve Inskeep

    Steve Inskeep

    hide captionSteve Inskeep

    Doby Photography/NPR

    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.

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