America’s Second Founding
John Cribb on Abraham Lincoln’s Last Five Years
Every 4th of July, we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence — some 250 years ago — but the proclamation that all men are created equal was not truly realized until another proclamation was made some 90 years later, on September 22, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln may not have been one of the original founders of the United States of America, but his influence on our nation’s trajectory rivals even George Washington’s. More books have been written about Lincoln than any other American, and his actions as President permanently altered the very definition of American liberty. In this sense, Lincoln can be said to have presided over a second founding moment — of almost equal importance to the first in 1776.
John Cribb has written the latest in a long line of books about Lincoln. Old Abe: A Novel distinguishes itself as one of the few historical novels — accurately retelling the story of Lincoln’s last five years leading up to his untimely demise. Cribb joined me to unpack the complex and fascinating legacy of Abraham Lincoln, from his election to the Presidency, through the tumultuous war that almost tore the country apart, to his assassination in 1865.
Of course, we discussed the role Lincoln played in ending the “peculiar institution,” which the founders themselves had neglected to solve in their own struggle for emancipation. Can this help explain why celebrating the 4th of July has become less popular in recent years? I asked John how “Old Abe” can help us recover a sense of patriotism in every generation.
Finally, we discussed the murkier questions of Lincoln’s legacy, including the growth of federal power and the questionable suspension of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War.
Bob Zadek 00:17
You cannot study the Founding era and fully understand the wisdom of the founders without a study of the Civil War era, and in particular, our 16th President — Abraham Lincoln. You don’t see the full context of what the founders were trying to do and what they were afraid to do without a study of the period, from 1861 through 1865. Here was a first term president assigned the task of nothing less than winning a civil war — a first in American history — holding the country together, and delivering a post-Civil War country intact. How’s that for a rookie’s job?
Therefore, it is this morning with great pride, excitement, anticipation that I welcome this morning’s guest, John Cribb.
John is a best selling author of The American Patriot’s Almanac and The Educated Child. He has recently published his first historical novel — Old Abe: A Novel — about the five year period starting in 1861, with Lincoln’s election at the time when the Civil War and secession were inevitable.
Why did you decide to write a novel rather than a history book?
John Cribb 04:48
It is rich in history, where you’re at Lincoln’s side every every step of the way. I spent more time that I want to admit to you researching this book. I got the idea in 2006. My wife jokes that it took four years to win the Civil War, and three times that long to get this book done.
I wanted to make it historically accurate. Every chapter is a date. Hopefully, this is the real Lincoln. He’s not chasing vampires or killing zombies. There are lots of really fine nonfiction biographies out there about Abraham Lincoln — more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than anybody in history except Jesus Christ: 15,000 to 20,000. Not so many novels. I wanted to bring him to life for readers and make him a walking, talking breathing figure, not just that stiff image we see on the $5 bill and the penny.
I hope it reminds readers of the extraordinary service he performed for this country. He was the giant hero at the center of that epic struggle to save our country and our founding principles when it was falling apart. A lot of people were ready to cast the principles of 1776 aside. He also was a hero in helping to lead the struggle to free millions of enslaved Americans.
People understand American history better if they understand Lincoln’s story, because he stands center stage in that magnificent story.
The Meaning of Four Score and Seven Years Ago
Bob Zadek 07:45
I’m going to ask this question, because of the calendar date — July 4. In Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, he started with “Four score and seven years ago.” It tells us so much about Lincoln’s orientation and commitment. Do the math and tell us what that meant when Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in 1863.
John Cribb 08:53
Four score and seven years ago was a poetic, almost biblical way of saying 87 years ago. If you subtract 87 from 1863, that takes you straight back to 1776, the year of the founding. Lincoln then says, “Our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” That’s almost straight out of the Declaration of Independence. It was Lincoln’s favorite founding document.
On his way to Washington to become president, he stopped in Philadelphia and gave an address at Independence Hall where he told the crowd, “I’m just feeling deep emotion standing here in this place.” He said, “I’ve never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.” That was his moral touchstone, political speaking. The Gettysburg Address may well be the greatest speech ever given on American soil. Lincoln tells you a lot about his view of America because in that speech, he is trying to tell a very war-weary northern people why they’ve got to go on fighting this awful war.
Lincoln knows several things when he gives that speech on that day. He knows that the United States is still a very young country — less than 100 years old at the time. He knows that this great experiment in freedom and self rule and democracy that the founders launched is still unproven. It’s been tested in a very hard way with a civil war. Lincoln knows that the eyes of the world are on this country waiting to see what’s going to happen with this war.
Lincoln knows that throughout the vast majority of history, the vast majority of people who have ever lived on this earth had lived with very little or no freedom. They lived under the thumb of kings or emperors or tyrants. Many had been in bondage themselves. The world had not had much freedom, and the world had been waiting for centuries for a place like this — conceived in liberty and dedicated to these propositions. Remember, the United States was the first nation in history founded on the idea that people should be free and free to govern themselves. The world is watching to see what’s going to happen. Lincoln, as much as many people did at the time, believed that if that war was lost, if the government failed, if the union fractured, that great experiment in freedom democracy was going to be snuffed out, that it would very likely go away. You would end up with a continent covered by several smaller countries — republics in name only — but governed by kings or their equivalents. That’s why at the very end of that Address, Lincoln says they have to keep fighting on, so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” He doesn’t say “from this country,” he says “from the earth,” because he knew exactly what was at stake. As he said at another stage, America is the last best hope of Earth. That’s what he was fighting for. That’s what he fought for to his dying breath. It all went back to 1776, the founding.
The Dual Purpose War
Bob Zadek 13:47
I have often felt that when elected officials take an oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies — domestic and foreign — that the oath should be to the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution was an architectural plan. It was not replete with principles, as the Declaration was. There is no person on earth who could not take allegiance wholeheartedly to the Declaration. It is harder to take allegiance to the Constitution because it is not a statement of principle. It is practical political design. It’s like the architectural plans for a house. There’s nothing beautiful in the plans. Carrying it out is the beautiful part. There’s no principles. I immediately understood Lincoln’s feelings towards the declaration in comparison to the Constitution. It was a moving moment for me when I understood. I often have felt that if I were around during the ratification process, I would have been opposed to the ratification — strangely enough, but the declaration…I understood Lincoln’s view.
There’s a lot in the news these days through anything from the 1619 project to the so-called “woke” point of view that we were founded as a slave nation — that the whole motivation of founding the country was for slavery. It has been expressed that Lincoln freed the slaves. Lincoln didn’t quite free the slaves — that was done by constitutional amendment. Help us understand the role in history of the Emancipation Proclamation. What was it? What did it accomplish? What were the circumstances?
John Cribb 17:02
He helped lead the effort to free the slaves, but there were many people involved, including many slaves themselves, and including a lot of abolitionists like the great orator, Frederick Douglass, and a lot of people on Capitol Hill, like Charles Sumner and others, who were pushing for a long time to free the slaves. It’s very, very complicated. There’s the whole issue of whether Lincoln was fighting to save the union or fighting to free the slaves. The short answer to that is he started out fighting to save the union, although he always hated slavery. With the Gettysburg Address, it really becomes a dual purpose war: both save the union and free the slaves.
The Emancipation Proclamation itself was what we would call an executive order. They didn’t use that term back then. Executive orders have become controversial because the President seems to use them more and more to circumvent Congress and try to get what they want to the executive orders. It was a military proclamation. Lincoln, even though he was extremely dedicated to those principles in the Declaration of Independence that were all created with these rights, including liberty, also believed that that applied to everyone, black and white. He also realized that the Constitution, in effect, legalized slavery in the States. That gave him no power as the chief executive to simply do away with slavery at the stroke of a pen. That’s the way he went into the Civil War.
He tried his best to avoid that war in part by by showing southerners that he had no intention and no power to interfere with slavery in the southern states. If you read his first inaugural address, he speaks directly to them and says, “I’m not going to disturb slavery.” As the war goes on, however, once the South is rebelled, it becomes a different kettle of fish. Lincoln comes to the view that the Constitution does give him the power as the head of the military, commander in chief, to use whatever much faster powers to win a war. Since the southerners are using slaves to help their war efforts — they weren’t arming slaves but they were using them to do everything from munitions manufacturing to digging trenches. The Emancipation Proclamation was a military proclamation in effect from the president as the head of the military, and he has the power to declare those slaves free as a means of helping to win the war.
The Emancipation Proclamation, it has often been noted, immediately freed no one. It said people who are enslaved in areas still controlled by the south are free. That’s why it took the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to really finalize it and really make it official. Lincoln was worried that after the war, that some of the courts were hostile to the idea of the federal government being able to emancipate the slaves, that it would be struck down as unconstitutional. They really wanted to get that constitutional amendment to really put a nail in the coffin of slavery. He does succeed in getting that passed through Congress, the 13th Amendment before he dies. It’s not ratified until after and after he’s gone. The Emancipation Proclamation is still celebrated today as basically the freeing of the slaves. It was a lot more complicated than a much longer road than simply signing a piece of paper and saying, “Okay, the slaves are free now.”
Bob Zadek 21:48
It was a military tactic, was it not? He was hopeful that when the slaves learned that, if they “ran away,” (a simplistic phrase), they would escape to freedom and would become free. It was a way to weaken and eliminate or reduce the labor force available to further the southern military efforts. That’s why I say it was a military tactic — something far removed from the lofty goal of simply freeing the slaves, which Lincoln simply didn’t have the power to do. It was quite interesting that he obviously remained respectful to his constitutional limitations, something we would hope that future presidents would do. They sometimes don’t. The lesson there was, throughout it all, Lincoln was mindful of the fact that his power was limited by the Constitution. The Emancipation Proclamation was a military tactic. It had loftier goals. It was a line in the sand. It was a statement of his principles, but it was in fact a military tactic.
John Cribb 23:25
That’s right. You’re exactly right. It did something else that people overlook — it said that such persons of suitable condition, meaning black people included, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts and stations in other places. This was a big step and something that the black abolitionists like Frederick Douglass had been calling for some time, which was to arm black people to fight in the Union. It made a huge difference in the wars, so the Emancipation Proclamation was a military tactic not only in that it encouraged slaves in the south to rebel and stop aiding the southern war effort, but it also set it up so that the blacks could start fighting in the army. They fought very valiantly, and they made a very big difference in the outcome of the war.
The Wisdom of the Founders
Bob Zadek 24:43
When one studies American history, specifically the founding era, you can break down the participants into two words that are sometimes inaccurately combined into one word. The two words are, “founders” and “framers.” If you drill down, the founders were all men who were around and participating in the first and second continental conventions in Philadelphia — they signed the Declaration of Independence, and they were the proponents for independence. Those are the founders, we know all many of their names.
Then there are the framers. The framers were the 55 or so men who met in Philadelphia in 1787, in the four and a half months between May and September, to write the Constitution. They are more precisely referred to as the framers. They drew the plans for the country — how we were to function as a country.
Lincoln identified profoundly with the founders, as you have taught us in your book — not as much with the framers, as we said earlier in this show. Lincoln, in his behavior, and in the times during the Civil War, demonstrated that the founders were right to bifurcate the creation of a country –step one — and the elimination of slavery — step two. The founders today are criticized sometimes for being hypocrites — for being slave owners. Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal,” in the Declaration, and yet they didn’t behave that way.
What do we learn about Lincoln in his respect for his behavior and belief system, as we said earlier, embracing the Declaration as the most significant to him founding document, and what do we learn from Lincoln’s experience about the wisdom of the founders in not dealing with slavery during the founding era?
John Cribb 28:03
It’s a really great question. That’s one that I think is important for people to understand because the founders have come under a lot of criticism. They wrote about and talk about quality and freedom, but they set up this country that institutionalized racism and slavery, and that’s a modern argument now. Lincoln argued that the founders knew that slavery was wrong, certainly. Even the slaveholders among them like Thomas Jefferson, in his early draft of the Declaration of Independence, wrote that slavery is a cruel war against human nature itself. Benjamin Franklin called it an atrocious debasement of human nature. They knew slavery was wrong.
Lincoln explained that they realized they could not fight a war against one of the greatest military powers on Earth — Britain — set up a brand new country, and launch an experiment that had never been tried before, while holding 13 very different states together and getting rid of slavery, all at the same time. It was simply too large a task, Lincoln said. He, at one point, drew a metaphor, he said, “The founders realized that slavery was like a cancer in the body politic, but if they tried to cut it out, all at once the patient would bleed to death.”
But he said what they could do, what they did do, was lay down some principles in the Declaration of Independence that spelled the doom of slavery, and they did it on purpose. That statement says that all men are created equal and all endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The declaration of those principles coming at a time when the vast majority of people on earth enjoyed little or no freedom, was a magnificent step forward, because for the first time in history a nation was created out of this idea that people should be free and govern themselves. Those founding principles in the Declaration of Independence were a promise to future generations.
That, ultimately, is what the Civil War turned into — a fight to redeem that promise for millions of enslaved Americans. That’s why he says in the Gettysburg Address, they have a new birth of freedom. It was a rededication to the ideals in the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln understood that those founding principles are shining principles that they stood as beacons for the country to be moving toward during the Civil War. Even after Lincoln was gone, we are still moving toward a more perfect union. We may never perfectly get there, but the country has, over the years, moved toward those principles that say promises in the Declaration of Independence.
Lincoln understood that, in one sense, the founding was tragically flawed by slavery, but then in another sense that it is this glorious beginning of this long, sometimes very hard journey, including the Civil War period, and other times in American history. This long journey in the end has brought hope and freedom to millions of people, both here and around the world. Lincoln knew that.
Moving Toward A More Perfect Union
Bob Zadek 32:31
John, you said Lincoln knew that the founding era was somewhat flawed. I would and with great respect, just question whether it was flawed. You don’t do the whole thing all at once. It would have been flawed if there were no principles that all men are created equal. That would have made it flawed. That would have made it less of a country people might be willing to die for. It would have been just a country. With that principle, the founding wasn’t flawed. The fact that you can’t do everything at once. I asked anybody listening to this show, are there not things that are on your list to accomplish, whether it’s to get a degree or whatever it is, you have stuff you are determined to do, but haven’t yet done. That doesn’t make you flawed. When you quoted Lincoln’s phrase, a more perfect union, Lincoln, I don’t think would have called the founding era flawed. It was simply less perfect. I’m not doing wordsmithing — ”it was less perfect” has a much different connotation than “flawed.” Just a minor comment because I make such a commitment to the declaration.
John Cribb 34:07
It’s a great comment, and I agree with you. Your words are more exact than mine. As a matter of fact, he said that the fact that that there was slavery at the founding did not destroy the principle at all. It had no effect on the principle itself. Less perfect is probably the way he would put it. He at one point said that only God is perfect. He quoted the Bible, where Jesus says, “As your Father in heaven is perfect, he is also perfect,” and he said, “I don’t think that the Savior expected any human being ever to be perfect. What he expected us to do is to always be reaching toward the perfect and attaining the highest degree of moral perfection that we can.”
The founders did the best they could, at the time. In Lincoln’s view, they attained the highest degree of moral perfection in the founding that they could at the time. They took this enormous step forward. It was less than perfect. We’re all less than perfect. I take your gentle corrections. I think you’re right, your words were more exact than mine. I appreciate that.
Election Lincoln the Moderate
Bob Zadek 35:42
John has written Old Abe, a historical novel, which is as accurate as a historical novel can be. He puts us on Lincoln’s side, as close to Lincoln as we could possibly imagine, during the five years at the end of Lincoln’s life during the Civil War — the most momentous period in American history. He brings us there. We hear Lincoln’s voice. We see him act. We see him worry. We share his pain. It is a brilliant book that helps us totally understand the founding era, even though it happened four score and five years (if we want to do the start) after the declaration.
One cannot fully understand the wisdom of the founders unless you read John’s book Old Abe. If you are enjoying my conversation with John, if you’re listening on a podcast, please let us know. All of your comments are welcome. Your suggestions are always welcome. Your ranking is always welcome. We read all the comments. We just tried to make this show better and better and more interesting for our audience.
Though every president starts off as a rookie, there’s no job quite like it. Lincoln came into office in 1861, to represent a new political party, the Republican Party. The battle which gave Lincoln the nomination first and then the election taught me so much about our political process today. It has been observed by almost everyone that the primary system we have causes candidates in a primary election to cater to the most extreme elements of his or her party, Democrat or Republican. Therefore, when they run for office, they are running as the most extreme example of their party. Lincoln got the nomination because of that dynamic. Lincoln was not a shoo-in to be the Republican nominee. Take us back to 1861. How exactly did Lincoln get first the nomination and then the election? He was a relative unknown, although he was a skillful politician, but he was, believe it or not, a moderate.
John Cribb 39:34
It was a wild and woolly election. Lincoln was a dark horse candidate. His name was nationally known, thanks mostly to the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1868, because those debates were so important and engaging that time. Newspapers all over the country had reprinted either in part or in full as debates. Lincoln had done some laying the groundwork. He had gone to New York City and given a big speech at Cooper Union, and he had done a speaking tour in the east. Nobody had heard of it. He was much less known than the other leading Republican candidates. In May of 1860, just a week before the Republican National Convention, which was in Chicago, he was nominated by the Republicans of Illinois to be their choice for the nomination.
It’s a great story. They met in a makeshift convention hall called the wigwam, and the Republicans went out and dug up some old fence rails Lincoln split as a young man, because he had been splitting logs on the frontier to make fence rails. His cousin, John Hanks, and another guy came carrying a campaign banner held up by two of these old fence rails up to the front of the halls declaring that Abe Lincoln is the rail candidate for President.
Everybody was screaming and yelling. They proceeded to nominate him. One week later is the national convention in Chicago. Lincoln does not go to that. That wasn’t the custom back then. He sends his campaign team up there. The leading candidates, William Henry Seward of New York, had been governor and senator from New York. There were others — Salmon Chase, and Simon Cameron. William Henry Seward was the main candidate. He was a very much against slavery. The Republican Party was founded largely to combat the evil of slavery. Simon Cameron had gone so far out on the issue that a lot of Republicans were worried that he was not electable, that he would be perceived as too radical about it.
All four of those other men had done or said something along the way to make one group or another, dissatisfied with them. Lincoln’s campaign managers thought, if Seward doesn’t get it on the first round that we might have a chance. Lincoln was in Springfield, the day of the convention. He followed it closely on the telegraph wires, and the first ballots that roundabout and came down. Seward got 173 votes from the delegates, and Lincoln had 102, which was a big spread but Seward didn’t win. The second round of ballots results came down. It was Seward 184 and a half and Lincoln 181 votes. Lincoln looked down at that telegram and saw that and said, I can find no fault with this — I think they may well nominate me on the next ballot, and they did. People began to come over to Lincoln as the moderate.
In the general election, the South certainly did not view Lincoln as a moderate at all. A lot of them thought that he was an outright abolitionist, which he was not. The democrats split. They held a convention and couldn’t agree on who to nominate. It was all about slavery. The argument was ever how they’re going to handle slavery. There’s a third party that split them even further. Lincoln manages to win the general election because the democratic vote is so divided over the issue of slavery. Interestingly, Lincoln does not get one single vote in the lower south states that shortly after make up the Confederacy. When I say he didn’t get one single vote, I don’t mean he didn’t get an electoral vote from anybody in the entire south. That was largely because they kept his name off the ballot. They couldn’t even vote for Abraham Lincoln, if they wanted to. The election of 1860, he lived in the south. He needed 152 electoral votes to win back then. He won with 180 electoral votes. This guy served four terms in the Illinois State Legislature, only one term in Congress, he’s never run anything more than an office with two partners and some clerks, and he suddenly finds himself about to be President of the United States and the country’s falling apart around him.
Bob Zadek 44:50
It’s hard to imagine any human being alive at the time, who would have navigated the incredibly treacherous shoals of the country during the Civil War. He took liberties, to be sure, with certain steps that perhaps exceeded the bounds of what a President had the power to do, but he did so for good reason. I’m a little reluctant to say it, because I don’t want to encourage any future presidents who maybe listening to my show to think the country will cut you some slack — that you can run roughshod over the Constitution, if you wish — so long as you’re doing it for a good reason.
Say a few words on Lincoln’s decision to suspend habeas corpus. Now, for listeners who may not be familiar with the phrase, habeas corpus was a principle that goes back to the Magna Carta that basically says governments cannot deny somebody of the liberty without a hearing and without the phrase we all know about today, which is “due process.” That goes back to the Magna Carta. Lincoln suspended one of the most core founding principles. He felt it necessary. He wasn’t the first president to take steps like that. John Adams, the second president, got the Alien and Sedition Act passed, which basically said, If you say nasty things about the president, you go to prison. And other presidents, Thomas Jefferson ordered the Louisiana Purchase with no presidential authority. He just did it because it was the right thing to do at the time. It was ratified by Congress. To put it in context, Lincoln was not the first and was not the last president to just openly take extra-constitutional steps. Tell us about Lincoln’s thought process in suspending one of our most sacred concepts: that of habeas.
John Cribb 47:58
Yes. He did. This is one of those areas where even the great admires of Lincoln look at it and wish he hadn’t. There was this horrible war going on. He thought it was necessary. It started very early in the war when the states were really still going out of the Union. There’s a question as to whether Maryland would go out or not. Virginia went out. Maryland looks like it was on the verge of going out. Washington would have been surrounded. In Maryland, there was all kinds of stuff going on — people were cutting telegraph wires. They were tearing up railroads. They were urging people into insurrection, and voices crying out for failing to leave the union. Lincoln felt like this war is going to be lost right away if I don’t bring this under control. He suspends habeas corpus and that gets them into a fight with the Taney Court.
Throughout the war, it’s just unfortunately true: there were a lot of cases of people simply being arrested and thrown into prison mostly by military commanders when they got into an area and pushed forward people who they thought were spies or people who work in trying to encourage people to revolt. They didn’t hesitate to throw them into prison. The Constitution does get the government power to suspend habeas in extreme circumstances, but doesn’t specifically say who can do it. Most people at that time argued that that was the Congress’s job. Lincoln said, “Well, now as I read it, I can suspend habeas.”
He said, “Should all the walls, but one,” meaning habeas, “go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces lest that one law be violated?” In other words, he thought that if he didn’t do this, then the whole thing is going down too — the whole country. He also, at one point, when he was defending this said, “Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts while I must not touch the hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert? I think that in such a case, to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only Constitutional but a great mercy.” That was his argument. Other presidents have done it. It’s just one of these examples of power. The government has great power. We always have to be suspicious of that great power. No matter who’s in the office, the White House, we have to be suspicious of companies with great power.
Bob Zadek 51:03
You’ve been listening to my conversation with John Cribb. John has published Old Abe, a historical novel, putting us side by side with the 16th president of our country during the last five years of his life: the Civil War, the freeing of the slaves, the Civil War amendments and the like. It is a must read. It makes history come alive. It reminds us, as it reminded Lincoln every day, of the wisdom of the founders — of the lyrical, important beauty of the Declaration of Independence, which we happily joyously celebrate on this July 4th every year.
Thank you so much to John. Please remember our founders. Read, if you will, the first paragraph of the Declaration and enjoy the freedom that that document has given us all. Thank you so much and have a good Sunday. Have a good Fourth of July weekend.
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.