Declaration of Independence in American
by H. L. Mencken
WHEN THINGS get so balled up that the people of a country got to
cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without
asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then
they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody
can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody.
All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is
as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody
ain't got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man
has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a
good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don't interfere with
nobody else. That any government that don't give a man them rights
ain't worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government
they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the
matter. That whenever any government don't do this, then the people
have got a right to give it the bum's rush and put in one that will
take care of their interests. Of course, that don't mean having a
revolution every day like them South American yellow-bellies, or every
time some jobholder goes to work and does something he ain't got no
business to do. It is better to stand a little graft, etc., than to
have revolutions all the time, like them coons, and any man that wasn't
a anarchist or one of them I.W.W.'s would say the same. But when
things get so bad that a man ain't hardly got no rights at all no more,
but you might almost call him a slave, then everybody ought to get
together and throw the grafters out, and put in new ones who won't
carry on so high and steal so much, and then watch them. This is the
proposition the people of these Colonies is up against, and they have
got tired of it, and won't stand it no more. The administration of the
present King, George III, has been rotten from the start, and when
anybody kicked about it he always tried to get away with it by
strong-arm work. Here is some of the rough stuff he has pulled:
He vetoed bills in the Legislature that everybody was in favor of,
and hardly nobody was against.
He wouldn't allow no law to be passed without it was first put up
to him, and then he stuck it in his pocket and let on he forgot about
it, and didn't pay no attention to no kicks.
When people went to work and gone to him and asked him to put
through a law about this or that, he give them their choice: either
they had to shut down the Legislature and let him pass it all by
himself, or they couldn't have it at all.
He made the Legislature meet at one-horse tank-towns, so that
hardly nobody could get there and most of the leaders would stay home
and let him go to work and do things like he wanted.
He give the Legislature the air, and sent the members home every
time they stood up to him and give him a call-down or bawled him out.
When a Legislature was busted up he wouldn't allow no new one to be
elected, so that there wasn't nobody left to run things, but anybody
could walk in and do whatever they pleased.
He tried to scare people outen moving into these States, and made
it so hard for a wop or one of these here kikes to get his papers that
he would rather stay home and not try it, and then, when he come in, he
wouldn't let him have no land, and so he either went home again or
He monkeyed with the courts, and didn't hire enough judges to do
the work, and so a person had to wait so long for his case to come up
that he got sick of waiting, and went home, and so never got what was
coming to him.
He got the judges under his thumb by turning them out when they
done anything he didn't like, or by holding up their salaries, so that
they had to knuckle down or not get no money.
He made a lot of new jobs, and give them to loafers that nobody
knowed nothing about, and the poor people had to pay the bill, whether
they could or not.
Without no war going on, he kept an army loafing around the
country, no matter how much people kicked about it.
He let the army run things to suit theirself and never paid no
attention whatsoever to nobody which didn't wear no uniform.
He let grafters run loose, from God knows where, and give them the
say in everything, and let them put over such things as the following:
Making poor people board and lodge a lot of soldiers they ain't got
no use for, and don't want to see loafing around.
When the soldiers kill a man, framing it up so that they would get
Interfering with business.
Making us pay taxes without asking us whether we thought the things
we had to pay taxes for was something that was worth paying taxes for
When a man was arrested and asked for a jury trial, not letting him
have no jury trial.
Chasing men out of the country, without being guilty of nothing,
and trying them somewheres else for what they done here.
In countries that border on us, he put in bum governments, and then
tried to spread them out, so that by and by they would take in this
country too, or make our own government as bum as they was.
He never paid no attention whatever to the Constitution, but he
went to work and repealed laws that everybody was satisfied with and
hardly nobody was against, and tried to fix the government so that he
could do whatever he pleased.
He busted up the Legislatures and let on he could do all the work
better by himself.
Now he washes his hands of us and even goes to work and declares
war on us, so we don't owe him nothing, and whatever authority he ever
had he ain't got no more.
He has burned down towns, shot down people like dogs, and raised
hell against us out on the ocean.
He hired whole regiments of Dutch, etc., to fight us, and told them
they could have anything they wanted if they could take it away from
us, and sicked these Dutch, etc., on us.
He grabbed our own people when he found them in ships on the ocean,
and shoved guns into their hands, and made them fight against us, no
matter how much they didn't want to.
He stirred up the Indians, and give them arms and ammunition, and
told them to go to it, and they have killed men, women and children,
and don't care which.
Every time he has went to work and pulled any of these things, we
have went to work and put in a kick, but every time we have went to
work and put in a kick he has went to work and did it again. When a man
keeps on handing out such rough stuff all the time, all you can say is
that he ain't got no class and ain't fitten to have no authority over
people who have got any rights, and he ought to be kicked out.
When we complained to the English we didn't get no more
satisfaction. Almost every day we give them plenty of warning that the
politicians over there was doing things to us that they didn't have no
right to do. We kept on reminding them who we was, and what we was
doing here, and how we come to come here. We asked them to get us a
square deal, and told them that if this thing kept on we'd have to do
something about it and maybe they wouldn't like it. But the more we
talked, the more they didn't pay no attention to us. Therefore, if they
ain't for us they must be agin us, and we are ready to give them the
fight of their lives, or to shake hands when it is over.
Therefore be it resolved, That we, the representatives of the
people of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, hereby
declare as follows: That the United States, which was the United
Colonies in former times, is now a free country, and ought to be; that
we have throwed out the English King and don't want to have nothing to
do with him no more, and are not taking no more English orders no more;
and that, being as we are now a free country, we can do anything that
free countries can do, especially declare war, make peace, sign
treaties, go into business, etc. And we swear on the Bible on this
proposition, one and all, and agree to stick to it no matter what
happens, whether we win or we lose, and whether we get away with it or
get the worst of it, no matter whether we lose all our property by it
or even get hung for it.