Thoughts > Declaration of Independence – modern translation

Declaration of Independence – a modern translation

You can compare the two versions side by side, or listen to it on YouTube

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Background- While working on an alternative constitution based on Open Source Gift Economics, I realized it might be useful to look at the united States Declaration of Independence as a starting point. But reading it with 2012 eyes most of it can be confusing, since it was written in a time when people spoke differently. Not finding any well done up to date versions, written almost exactly the same, or translated in to something so different, it was obvious the person had ulterior motives, I decided it was time to do the unholy of unholies. So here’s my interpretation/translation of the declaration of independence in to 21st Century terminology with no angle so anyone over the age of 13 could understand it’s words, and it’s intention.

(Any and all comments appreciated)

START

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 its 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, and 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, the People 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 in to 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 who’s 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 it’s 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 in to 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, 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.

~end~

Minor note: the original listed here is slightly altered from the original so you can understand it. As an example, the word “General Congress, Assembled” is spelled “General Congrefs Afsembled”.

The declaration of independence was signed by 56 of the wealthiest and/or brightest colonists in America at the time including- Button Gwinnett, a recent English immigrant, Lyman Hall who fought for a federally funded religious university, and George Walton who was strangely traded back to the US after spending 2 years behind bars in England escaping death somehow. With a massive bounty for his head put out by the King himself, aren’t you curious how he did it?

Is it time for another another American Revolution, and if so, what level of change might it require to return America to a beacon of Liberty and Freedom?

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Comments
  1. Dave Zeiger says:

    Very much enjoyed this! And about time it was updated, considering how few seem to have read and/or retained the original!

    As I expect it will get passed around, I offer this small, editorial correction: ‘Gorilla’ is the animal, ‘Guerrilla’ is the combatant.

    Dave Z

  2. leifthor says:

    Thanks Dave for the heads up on the typo, and the compliment:)!

  3. jim says:

    NIce job….adjusted a couple of areas to use in the classroom. Thanks!

  4. Lucy says:

    The official F you to the Britons by America. Only translated more brilliantly and eloquently. Thanks.

  5. Brian says:

    I enjoyed reading this…thanks for the translation. In the first paragraph, you have left out the fact that these rights are given to each individual by God and are unalienable – cannot be taken away – which is so important. The rights are given by God to the People and then the People loan these rights to the Government. Maybe consider changing “We believe everyone is created equal, and should be afforded the right to breathe, eat, sleep, explore, and learn at their own discretion. We agree every person has the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.” to “We believe everyone is created equal and God gives every human being basic rights which cannot be taken away by any man or government; including but not limited to the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.”

    • leifthor says:

      Brian, you are so absolutely correct. Let me attend to that immediately:)! Thanks for pointing it out, as it’s my favorite part, and the most historically important since it was the first time a group of people said certain rights were beyond the scope or control of any government and granted (forever) to all no matter their government. Kudos, and sorry it’s taken so long to see this.

  6. Hanna says:

    In the third fact stating how the King of England is a tyrant, you may have used the wrong word. Instead of effecting, it should have been affecting. Overall, this was a great translation, and I enjoyed reading it.

    • leifthor says:

      Thanks for the kind words, and especially thanks for showing me that people are not just glancing at this version but actually reading it, and even better reading it critially, so thank you thank you thank you! And thanks also for pointing out that grammar error, spot on! I’ve changed it, together (voluntarily) people can do anything!~

    • leifthor says:

      Thanks Raj, and please don’t kill me but I’ve added to that part even more, as someone pointed out something I missed too, which is the bill of rights are inalienable, so I needed to say something about it. Sadly now the modern translation is longer! than the original words, but it needed to be said since it’s there in the original.

    • Kurt says:

      Thank you so much for creating this from one teacher to the next!

  7. Breahna says:

    This really helped me understand the Declaration of Independance in a more modern veiw.

    • leifthor says:

      Well it certainly surprised me to discover 3/4 of the Declaration of Independence were the individual complaints to the King (and anyone else listening) of just what infractions upon Freedom and Liberty the King had been making. It honestly reads more like a letter than the document causing the Birth of a Nation. The heart of the document is really about a paragraph long and it reads like a break up letter with a loved one. Hey look, we’re pissed cause you did such and such without honor, therefore dear so and so bye bye.

      It should be noted too that there wasn’t anything legal about the Declaration of Independence, since there’s nowhere written how one starts countries. There’s no format by which it happens. Enough really rich Americans believed it so, and so it was so.

      It should also be noted the Declaration of Independence was only echoing the real voice of the People in their desire, their hunger for Freedom and Liberty to live their own lives free from regulations and invasive government stagnating an otherwise beautiful free market.

      *COOL HISTORY ABOUT MONEY- Question: Who do you think printed the first paper bill currency in history? Not bank notes which were written on paper, but specifically paper currency? And if you find that answer cool, it gets far more interesting when you discover the reason it was created, to pay American soldiers for raiding French trading ports in Canada. When the French finally built up their defenses enough the returning soldiers couldn’t come back with booty, when the soldiers demanded to be paid, New York didn’t have any money to pay them (why they needed to do the raids was to help raise money for the government haha), and so fearing for their very skins, they concocted the idea of printing on paper currency, which even then didn’t have any real backing. Sadly this printing money without a real anything to back it, would be copied by countless countries from then till now. Today, it’s universal, there’s not a country on the planet printing money with anything to back it.

      One only need research what happened to our forefathers when they printed money without anything backing it, to know what’s in store for us all in the near future…

      It was a major contributing, if not the reason itself for the revolution of 1776, but not the way you might think. In a nut shell it went like this – A colony needed money so sends army to raid, raid fails, army returns demanding payment, and is given paper which they and anyone who saw believes is worth something, they print and print and print all the while saying they’ll stop the press, the value becomes worthless, and English businessmen who’ve been paid in these worthless paper bills (for trade) are whopping mad and so complain to their King to do something about those bloody colonists printing their own worthless money, which leads to the Stamp tax which leads to pissing most Americans off, setting off the revolution. Funny how real history is so much more interesting then the frames we mostly have of how things happen. History is much less clear cut then it’s portrayed as. I may have this wrong so if I do, please someone correct me here.

  8. Nicole says:

    Well tuck me in and-call me for breakfast!
    Your brain, Is a turn on
    Who knew Thor carried more than a hammer
    LOL.just being cheeky
    Good Job,you have dusted her off and honored her sacred tenets
    I will enjoy passing this on to my son.
    Spoke to a mutual friend today (of the same first name)
    About how you were very much in control,captain of your destiny
    I was curious and googled your name
    God,the Internet is great,so glad Gore invented it
    Bwaahahahah.
    You seem to be making splendid use of the brilliant mind
    You have been given.
    I am happy you are doing well!!!
    You deserve it.
    Best to you
    N.

    • leifthor says:

      Nicole, thank you too kindly for your words of praise for me and my interpretation, and especially your kind words for indeed a most sacred document which I’ve tried my best to translate to modern English language.

      I found above all else, The Declaration of Independence wasn’t just written for Americans. The document states in no uncertain terms, in words that could cut paper(even the original), that the freedom to pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness are eternal rights granted to any living soul, by the authority of the Universe, or whatever deity anyone should feel close to. That this simple sentence, which has seen so little light in societies over all of man’s history, is not governable, and if attempted, should be fought with tooth and nail until every individual’s freedoms are restored again. History is rife with governments, and the vast majority of mankind both past and present have been governed, and only sprinkled here and there with brief moments of genuine freedom for the people to pursue life, liberty, and happiness without tyranny tugging at our necks.

      Many still cling to some kind of American Altruism, or some vision they know best or “right”, when the Framers specifically worded the document otherwise. All these qualities, Life, Liberty, and Happiness are relative terms, without a singular right or wrong, other than of course the natural and no need to be spoken of kindness to your fellow man, or treat others as you’d hope to be treated in return. They didn’t need to write “while not harming others” at the end of the sentence, since that part goes without saying. No village, town, city, or home ever needed to post “while not harming others”, as a rule, since if anyone did harm another, and were caught, they soon learned how not ok it was by the remaining members of said village, town, city, or home.

      Again, many thanks for your very sweet compliment, it really made my week!

      I hope you’ll forgive my rant, sometimes, I just need to rant:)….

  9. Nicole says:

    Leifur you’re interpretation/translation of such a sacred document
    brings relevance and accessibility To the people
    The timing auspicious.
    We must protect and defend said rights
    As the declaration calls us too
    to paraphrase Jefferson:
    The people have a right and more importantly a duty
    To alter or abolish and replace standing governments
    “when a long train of abuse and usurpations”
    Revealed a settled design to once again
    subject them to absolute rule.

    Please rant on!!

    • leifthor says:

      Thanks for your input Nicole, and for also pointing out it’s the People’s responsibility to amend any government/authority that serves only a few, at the expense of the many. And sadly, even in this day of the 21st Century, the majority of the populace still believes to make the equation more equal, the People should take from those who have the most, or the pull the top down theory, where as historically, the fastest mechanism to a rich and prosperous culture is to let the People act freely without regulation or impunity. Any quick study of the time during prohibition will illustrate this perfectly.

      Once alcohol was made illegal, all liquor purchases were done under the table, or tax free, and Speak Easies or hang outs where one could drink became common place in every other home. Suddenly, the few liquor companies that were legal and heavily regulated, went under, and it was replaced by a multitude of those willing to break the law to make some more money for their families, and a tax free market for it. Anyone who knows their history will understand why marijuana is on the road to becoming legal again, so it can be taxed, regulated, and those who don’t pay their dues, thrown in to jail, but this time for “genuinely legal reasons”. That’s dark comedy if you want to laugh and cry at the same time, and generally a sign things aren’t right, not even close.

      And of course, along with this example comes the fate of attaching any moral value to a law, something the Framers were against, and why they required separation from church and state. Prohibition threw that to the wind, and it didn’t do any good for the “state”, but did a great deal for the small entrepreneur who wanted to add a little income to their families money. As it was laughable from day 1 the country wasn’t about to stop drinking, everyone was on for the ride. The country’s economic growth during this period was staggering, a middle class grew, and alcohol became much stronger, the last thing those who made prohibition wanted, and again what results when morals are attached to laws.

      Sure poor innocent folks were gunned down for making or transporting liquor, but only because it was illegal. Always it comes down to what’s legal at the time, and always whatever governing body is around under any political system, will want to tax anything it can since The People is any government’s fuel, it’s gas, and it cares not one lick about the welfare of the people, never has (history says not me), and any politician saying otherwise is telling you so while he’s lifting your wallet at the same time.

      And since you’ll allow me to rant, I’m going to rant just a little more:)

      Self (body and mind) belongs to the self, and no other. This is part of Natural Law, and it’s bigger than any state or government. This is what the Framers intended when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. Property isn’t about a home or building (though of course they’re included), it’s about your body, and who your body belongs to, you, and no one else. Your body doesn’t belong to your employer, your parents, your state, nationality, or someone else’s religion, your body belongs to you. Who says? Well according to the Declaration of Independence Universe or whoever you feel your diety does, that’s who. Can anyone take your body away from you? According to Natural Law, no, it’s quite clear in this regard with no if and or buts.

      So any law regarding what a person can put in their body, or what they choose to learn or explore isn’t the privi to any state agency, period. This is what the Framers were saying plain and clear.

      Here’s an example of proper Natural Law-

      Tom smokes marijuana for whatever reason he cares. When he’s at home, he can smoke however much he wishes, as he’s in his home.

      Now he’s a Lisa’s restaurant, and Lisa hates smokers, so she has a sigh outside that says “non-smoking restaurant”. Does Tom have to respect Lisa’s rules? As long as he wants to eat at her restaurant yes, but he’s also free to go down the street to Vic’s Cafe, where Vic and everyone there smoke like chimneys. Can anyone demand in Vic’s restaurant that everyone else stop smoking so they won’t have to smell the smoke? Nope, they’ll want to go find a restaurant where smoking isn’t permitted.

      This is called an open market, where each individual gets to direct themselves however they wish following certain principles, which are respect of the owner’s wishes.

      Currently, the entire system of self ownership, the idea we own at the very least our own body and mind, is upsidown, all flippy floppy. As a citizen, you don’t even have the right over your own body, you are property of the State, period. Any deviation from the rules applied to all, will land you in jail, and that’s a fact.

      The current system says everyone has to follow certain general rules, rules everyone of these smokers, non smokers, and business owners have to follow. Imagine, you own your business, and you can’t even smoke in your own restaurant, a double loss of independence.

      The People should be outraged, and so many are, yet the powers of the state are devious, and if you watch TV, you’ve been trained to not trust your fellow man. People should not be trusted to make their own decisions, only chaos will result says the state. We’re not even allowed legally to take our own lives…Ever try and leave your bank, close your accounts, and weeks later you’re still receiving letters you owe this or that small charge even though you’ve written to them explaining you’d closed your account weeks ago and to please leave you alone, yet they won’t. It’s like that, as long as you’re an asset to the state for earning revenue to keep it going, you can always expect more laws between whatever it is you want or need, and more and more payments to get it. We can’t allow these potential money makers to just jump ship now can we? Those who want to pull the top down think just like that.

      Anyone who feels they’ve not become modern day cattle, isn’t looking very closely.

      Question – If you don’t even own your own body, what are you?

      You’re property all right, just not your own property, you’re just another asset to the state, ew.

      I challenge anyone to argue this point, arguing that by giving up our property of our own body, we’re somehow more free as a whole.

      As George Carlin would point out, we’re free to choose what kind of bagel we want, but that’s not real freedom, not even close.

      Thanks again Nicole, maybe if enough people listen to Milton Freedman, or even better, research the historical data, they too will discover the pen we’ve been put in to.

      To summarize, a free market without taxation or regulation, will flourish, while the greater the taxation/regulation, the worse the market will do, no matter how “right” those making the laws may be.

      Now let me take a real leap if you’ve read this far….

      Gay marriage – Good or bad? Irrelevant, all unions between any two, three and however many people is between them, and no one else, certainly not the state’s. To do so is against Natural Law.

      Suicide – Good or bad? Irrelevant, if it’s not about you, it’s none of your business. Again Natural Law.

      Drugs legal or illegal – Irrelevant, it’s no one’s business what any of us choose to put in our bodies, certainly not the state’s privy, ever. Again, Natural Law

      Income Tax – Good or bad? Irrelevant, as it’s a direct tax on the individual just to be allowed to live. A direct violation of Natural Law in a most direct way.

      And just when will my fellow brothers and sisters see these atrocities for what they are?

      Probably about the time their children are being herded in to gated communities. But of course by then it’s too late to do much.

  10. Nicole says:

    Milton Freedman stated “If you put the Federal government in charge of the sahara desert,
    In 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand”

    Sadly Mr.Thor I concur with your arguments and examples.people need to lay off the Kool-aid
    society has fallen victim to Stockholm Syndrome yet we all know, sometimes there are no victims only willing participants.Winston Churchill stated that “Socialism is the philosophy of failure,The creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy,it’s inherent virtue Is the equal sharing of misery”.
    Wake Up and smell the tyranny!

    I might add to an earlier point you made about banks try walking in and cashing a very
    Large check we were told recently by our bank that they did not have that much currency on hand,We were told it would take a couple days till the cash was available to us.
    4 days later we came back to collect our $10,000 dollars.

    I took my 14 year old son , to a new pediatrician to obtain a written certificate of good general health.a requirement for acceptance into his schools athletic program…P.E. Anyone?
    Parental permission is no longer relevant.
    The doctor subjected My sonTo a litany of questions about the treatment he receives at home:
    “Are you happy?do your parents punish you physically?,are you getting enough to eat?,do you
    get enough fresh vegetables and fruit?do you go to school?,what school?, doing all your homework?,How are your grades?”.Each and every answer was promptly typed
    Into a large database,and No! You cannot have a copy.
    I was then asked to leave the Exam room,and with no nurse present my son was asked “Are you sexually active?,would you like information on condoms?, Is there anything you want to talk about that you are not comfortable discussing with your mom present?

    Our children can now be added to the list of things that are no longer our own.
    step aside your children’s pen is ready.

    “Baa-ram-ewe,Ba-ram-ewe,to your breed,your fleece,your clan be true,
    Baa-ram-ewe,sheep be true”.

  11. Desiree says:

    good job

  12. Jessicaroberts says:

    It needs to interpreted to a third grade level I’m just saying

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