The Virginia Declaration of Rights (June 12, 1776)

The Virginia Declaration of Rights (June 12, 1776)

  1. All men by nature are free & independent. They have certain inherent right, which can’t be taken away in society – enjoyment of life & property, acquiring & possessing property, & pursuing & obtaining happiness
  2. All the power of representatives are vested in magistrates who are the servants of the people
  3. The government is there for the common benefit, protection & security of the people, nation & community. It is in its best form when able to produce the greatest degree of happiness & safety, & provide against bad administration, i.e. when government is inadequate or contrary to these purposes. The majority of the community has the indubitable, inalienable & indefeasible right to reform, change or abolish any government when & how they feel it necessary.
  4. No man or group of men are entitled to exclusive privileges except when acting in public services. Offices of the magistrate, legislator & judge may not be hereditary
  5. The Legislative & executive powers are to be distinct from the judiciary. Members from the first 2 can be thrown out of office if the public wish to replace them with others.
  6. Elections ought to be free. All men with an attachment to the community have the right to vote & may not be taxed or be deprived of their property without their consent
  7. Power of suspending laws without representative consent is injurious to rights & ought not to be exercised
  8. Any man accused of a crime has the right to know what he’s being accused of, to confront his accusers, to be judged by an impartial jury of his local peers & can only be convicted with a unanimous decision. No man can be deprived of his liberty except by law or jury
  9. No excessive bail or fines. No cruel or unusual punishment
  10. No warrants to search places without evidence. No seizure of people not specifically accused of a crime or of people not described or with evidence against them
  11. In cases of property, trial by jury is the best method
  12. Freedom of the press is important to Democracy & is not to be restrained
  13. A well-regulated militia is important to defend a free state. Avoid standing armies in peaces. Military is strictly subordinate to a government of civil power
  14. People have the right to a uniform government & no government is to be formed independence to the government of Virginia
  15. Free government & liberty is only possible through adhering to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality & virtue
  16. Religion can only be directed by reason & conviction, not force or violence. Men are equally entitled to free exercise of religion. It is the moral duty to practice Christian forbearance, love & charity toward each other.

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