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The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms

The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms was a document issued by the Second Continental Congress on July 6, 1775, to explain why the Thirteen Colonies had taken up arms in what had become the American Revolutionary War. The final draft of the Declaration was written by John Dickinson, who incorporated language from an earlier draft by Thomas Jefferson.

The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms

A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North-America, now met in Congress at Philadelphia, setting forth the causes and necessity of their taking up Arms.

If it was possible for men who exercise their reason, to believe that the divine Author of our existence intended a part of the human race to hold an absolute property in, and an unbounded power over others, marked out by his infinite goodness and wisdom, as the objects of a legal domination never rightfully resistible, however severe and oppressive, the inhabitants of these Colonies might at least require from the Parliament of Great Britain some evidence, that this dreadful authority over them has been granted to that body. But a reverence for our great Creator, principles of humanity, and the dictates of common sense, must convince all those who reflect upon the subject, that Government was instituted to promote the welfare of mankind, and ought to be administered for the attainment of that end. The Legislature of Great Britain, however, stimulated by an inordinate passion for a power, not only unjustifiable, but which they know to be peculiarly reprobated by the very Constitution of that Kingdom, and desperate of success in any mode of contest where regard should be had to truth, law, or right, have at length, deserting those, attempted to effect their cruel and impolitick purpose of enslaving these Colonies by violence, and have thereby rendered it necessary for us to close with their last appeal from reason to arms. Yet, however blinded that Assembly may be, by their intemperate rage for unlimited domination, so to slight justice and the opinion of mankind, we esteem ourselves bound, by obligations of respect to the rest of the world, to make known the justice of our cause.


Declaration of Independence


In Congress, July 4, 1776.
A Declaration
By the Representatives of the
United states of America,
In general Congress assembled

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 abolish it, and to institute a 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 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 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 Legislature.

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 in 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 Powers 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 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 among 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 the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress,
John Hancock, President.

Charles Thomson, Secretary.

Philadephia: Printed by John Dunlap.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1


Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

Column 2

North Carolina:

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

South Carolina:

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton

Column 3


John Hancock


Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton

Column 4


Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross


Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

Column 5

New York:

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

New Jersey:

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark

Column 6

New Hampshire:

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple


Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery


Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

New Hampshire:

Matthew Thornton




Source The Charters of Freedom, archives.gov





Fire Weather!

Fire weather. Words recognized and respected by all who have lived in the forest for any length of time. Fire weather in short means that all conditions are right for a forest fire to be started in the woods. Not maybe, not might, but would if there is just one more piece of the fire triangle introduced – a source of ignition. Which is really unfortunate because this time of year we have plenty in the form of a woodsman’s worse enemy – the firework, most specifically, the air burst firework. Let me back up and talk about the three things needed to produce a fire. When I was learning it was called a fire triangle, now it is called fire tetrahedron. It is a simple way to remember that it always takes three things for a fire – fuel, air, and spark (heat).

1175px-Fire_triangle.svgSo fire weather assesses at least, fuels (forest vegetation and trees dried by high temperatures), air quality (winds, clouds, ambient and relative moisture), and sources of heat (lightning storms, camping, fireworks) Here in the Pacific Northwest the month of August is normally right for fires. As I write this (July 2014) there are 4 large fires burning in Washington state and 3 more (1 Oregon, 2 Washington) have been listed on the reports since I started typing this. Add this to a report of possible thunderstorms, of which the northern part of California might be getting as I looked at the radar earlier, and things are truly scary if you live anywhere near the forest.   I did once, and would move back in a moment if I found a place to live.

About living in the forest. Along this time of year or a little after a lot of forest residents are becoming more and more aware of fire danger. All you have to do is inhale and you know it is dry. The smell of blackberries (this is Oregon) and dry trees greet every breath. Fir trees, Myrtle trees, Alder trees. Plants like Cow Parsnip and grass grown high to be hay and the smell of it being cut and baled. The endless sound of crickets, they don’t even bother to stop singing when you are near anymore. The river is low, it has a distinct and forever remembered smell of the drying algae left high above the water level as the river gets more and more shallow. Those neighbors who pull water from the river are checking daily to make sure that the uptake is still in the pocket of water it had been the day before at that it is still covered. You hear horror stories down at the feed store and local eatery of pumps burning out because they were no longer getting water and the shut-off didn’t work. Or there were people with wells who knew the water would go away if they used too much. Even the lucky people with water coming high up a hill from a stream or spring would worry. Either way, there would be no water to use on a spot fire if one was found where someone tossed a cigarette out the window of a passing car or used a firework in a wide spot of the road or primitive camp spot. Everyone knew that at best the fire patrol would hurry to get there from an hour away as they were always heading the opposite way on their patrol when you called. At worse there was another  fire in their district and it would be even longer. We all carried shovels and jerry cans of water in our trucks (and people who usually drove their car were often seen in their trucks) some even carried some sand gathered from the dry banks along the river. One thought in our area was (forgive me), if we survived the dry season would the rains come back soon enough that hunting season wouldn’t be restricted? Especially those who were sustenance hunters.

Fire weather. It might not be anything more than talk in the news for the city folks who take their fireworks to the country so that the city lights don’t dim them. Or the family out for a weekend picnic just to get out of the heat of the city. Under the trees is always cooler than concrete and exhaust. The coals have burned down in the BBQ and are basically out, they will finish burning out in an open hole. Long time smokers don’t even realize they just tossed a butt off to the side of the picnic spot or out the window of the car. We can’t prevent the lightning, but we can prevent what man does.

Fire weather. We know in the forest what it means, and we know in the forest what would happen if it lives up to its press. The last couple years there has been multiple fires in Arizona, California, and Colorado. Fires that might have started in a rural area but they marched right into more and more homes. The damage was beyond thoughts.


Yarnell Hill Fire

Powerhouse Fire

Black Forest Fire


Yarnell, Yavapai County, Arizona,
North Los Angeles County Black Forest, Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado


June 28, 2013 – July 10, 2013 May 30, 2013 – June 10, 2013 (PDT) June 11, 2013 – June 20, 2013

Burned area

8,400 acres 30,274+ acres 14,280 acres

Ignition source

Lightning Unconfirmed, believed to be human-caused, full arson investigation underway.

Land use

Mixed (residential and wildlands) Wildland–urban interface: Forest, rural, suburban

Buildings destroyed

129 53 486 homes destroyed, 37 homes damaged, unknown number of outbuildings damaged/destroyed

Injuries (non-fatal)

23 0 (not given)


19 0 2


Granite Mountain Hotshots

The Granite Mountain Hotshots are a group within the department whose mission is to fight wildfires. It was founded in 2002 as a fuels mitigation crew, formed as Crew 7 (Type 2 I/A) in 2004, and transitioned into a hotshot unit in 2008. Each year, the unit offered an eighty-hour critical training and refresher course in order to keep skilled in their technique.

On June 30, 2013, 19 members of the group were killed fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire.The fatalities were members of the group, which consisted of twenty members, of which only one survived.

Those Wildland Firefighters killed were:

Ashcraft, Andrew – Age: 29 Caldwell, Robert – Age: 23 Carter, Travis – Age: 31 Deford, Dustin – Age: 24 MacKenzie, Christopher – Age: 30 Marsh, Eric – Age: 43 McKee, Grant – Age: 21 Misner, Sean – Age: 26 Norris, Scott – Age: 28 Parker, Wade – Age: 22 Percin, John – Age: 24 Rose, Anthony – Age: 23 Steed, Jesse – Age: 36 Thurston, Joe – Age: 32 Turbyfill, Travis – Age: 27 Warneke, William – Age: 25 Whitted, Clayton – Age: 28 Woyjeck, Kevin – Age: 21 Zuppiger, Garret – Age: 27

While not nearly as terrible cost of human lives, the Waldo Canyon fire in Arizona in 2012 marks one of the worst fires ever in a year that they state saw about a dozen wildfires burned simultaneously, consuming more than 244,000 acres, destroying more than 600 homes, and causing six deaths.

Waldo Canyon fire

Location El Paso and Teller counties, Colorado, including Colorado Springs, Cascade, Chipita Park, Green Mountain Falls, Crystola, Manitou Springs, and The United States Air Force Academy, Colorado.
Date(s) June 23, 2012 – July 10, 2012
Burned area 18,247 acres (28.511 sq mi; 73.84 km2)
Ignition source Human-caused (intent unknown)
Land use Forest, rural, urban
Buildings destroyed 346
Injuries (non-fatal) At least 6
Fatalities 2

Human caused? Fire weather? Why do I care? 19 firefighters and countless others that is why. Next time they call a Red Flag Warning to alert all to Fire Weather, please say a prayer for those who live, work, and patrol the woods that they will stay safe until the rains come. And stay on the roads in the forest.

National Weather Service. (2014, June 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:47, July 11, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=National_Weather_Service&oldid=613490407 (sub-heading: Fire Weather)

Yarnell Hill Fire. (2014, April 29). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:04, July 11, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Yarnell_Hill_Fire&oldid=606278740

2013 California wildfires. (2014, July 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:05, July 11, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2013_California_wildfires&oldid=616494677

Black Forest Fire. (2014, June 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:03, July 11, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Black_Forest_Fire&oldid=613738651

Prescott Fire Department. (2014, June 30). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:05, July 11, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Prescott_Fire_Department&oldid=615055978

 Worst U.S. Forest Fires.  (2007) In Infoplease.com Retrieved 18:13,  July 11, 2014, from  http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0778688.html

Red flag warning. (2013, September 11). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:24, July 11, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Red_flag_warning&oldid=572430532