Declaration of Independence for Northern Ohio

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Why would Western Reserve want to secede from Ohio?

To illustrate all our grievances against the Ohio state government, we ventured to tailor the original 1776 Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson to create the United States of America. We're no Jefferson, and we're not looking to form our own country, but we're floored by how many of the complaints apply here. Take a look, and add your name if you feel so inclined.

This is part of cleveland.com's series, "Western Reserve: the 51st State?" For more stories, click here.

The unanimous Declaration of the district of Western Reserve:

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 humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people 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 People, 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 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 Northern Ohio districts, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present Ohio Legislature, Governor and Supreme Court is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over this region. To prove this, let Facts about the Ohio legislators and governor be submitted to a candid world.

They have refused their Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

They have forbidden their mayors and city councils to pass and enforce Laws of immediate and pressing importance.

They have passed Laws depriving large districts of people of their right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

They have, through gerrymandering, dissolved the legitimacy of representative houses of government.

They have refused for a long time to institute representative legislative districts, depriving the people of their Legislative Powers.

They have erected new offices empowered to operate in secrecy and without accountability of swarms of highly paid officers.

They have worked to subject us to a rural jurisdiction foreign to our principles and given assent to acts of pretended legislation.

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.

For reneging on longstanding agreements to return portions of taxes for local governments to provide services to constituents.

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 power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

They have abdicated Government here, plundered our lakes, ravaged our coasts and harmed the lives of our people.

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.

Rulers, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, are unfit to be the leaders of a free people.

We, therefore, the Representatives of Western Reserve, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of this district, solemnly publish and declare, That this district of Western Reserve is and of Right ought to be a Free and Independent states in these United States of America, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the state of Ohio, and that all political connection between them and the State of Ohio, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Independent State, they have full Power to make laws, create legislative districts, elect representatives, assess taxes, 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 Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.



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