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THE end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals, who . compose it, with the power of enjoying, in safety and tranquillity, their natural rights, and the blessings of life : and whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures, necessary for their safety, prosperity, and happiness. The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals. It is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a Constitution of Government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial
interpretation, and a faithful execution of them ; that every man may, at all times, find his security in them. We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe, in affording us, in the course of his providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence, or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other ; and of forming a new Constitution of Civil Government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish, the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
ALL men are born free and equal, and have certain L. natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
It is the right, as well as the duty, of all men in society, publickly, and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshiping God, in the manner and season, most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience ; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.
As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon
... piety, religion, and morality; and as these cannot be gen1*