Pennsylvania Politics and the Growth of Democracy: 1740- 1776

By Theodore Thayer | Go to book overview

APPENDIX II
THE CONSTITUTION OF PENNSYLVANIA.* 1776

WHEREAS all Government ought to be Instituted and supported for the Security and Protection of the Community as such and to enable the Individuals who compose it to enjoy their Natural rights, and the other Blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed upon Man; And whenever these great Ends of Government are not obtained, the people have a right by common Consent to change it, and take such Measures as to them may appear necessary to promote their Safety and happiness, AND WHEREAS, The Inhabitants of this Common Wealth have in Consideration of Protection only heretofore acknowledged Allegiance to the King of Great Britain, and the said King has not only withdrawn that protection but commenced and still Continues to carry on with unabated Vengeance a most cruel and Unjust War against them, employing therein not only the Troops of Great Britain, but foreign Mercenaries, Savages and Slaves for the avowed purpose of reducing them to a Total and abject Submission to the despotic Domination of the British Parliament (with many other Acts of Tyranny more fully set forth in the Declaration of Congress) whereby all Allegiance and Fealty to the said King and his successors are dissolved and at an End, and all power and Authority derived from him ceased in these Colonies, and Whereas it is absolutely necessary for the welfare and Safety of the Inhabitants of said Colonies that they be henceforth Free and Independant [sic] States and that Just permanent and proper forms of Government [exist in every part of] them, derived from, and founded on the Authority of the people only, agreeable to the Directions of the Honourable American Congress.

WE THE REPRESENTATIVES of the FREEMEN of PENNSYLVANIA in GENERAL CONVENTION MET for the Express purpose of framing such a Government, confessing the goodness of the great Governor of the Universe (who alone knows to what degree of Earthly happiness mankind may attain by perfecting the Arts of Government) in permitting the People of this State by common Consent, and without Voilence [sic] deliberately to form for themselves such Just rules as they shall think best for Governing their future Society and being fully Convinced that it is our Indispensable duty to establish such Original Principles of Government as will best promote the General Happiness of the People of this State and their posterity, and provide for future improvements without partiallity [sic] for or prejudice against any particular class, sect or denomination of Men

-211-

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