Creating the Declaration of Independence

Train of Abuses

Thomas Jefferson was in the mainstream of British radicals when he accused the British monarch of "a long train of abuses," that not only justified but demanded an overthrow of the oppressive government. In both his draft of the Virginia Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson listed actions by the British government that could be directly attributed to the evil intentions of the King of Great Britain. This "long train of abuses," which Jefferson compiled with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, takes up more than half of the Declaration of Independence. Where did this idea come from? »

Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence, Train of Abuses section

but when a long train of abuses & usurpations [begun at a distinguished period, &] pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to subject reduce them to arbitrary power under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government & to provide new guards for their future security.