Declaration of Independence of California

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Declaration of Independence of California (1836)
by Juan Bautista Alvarado
, translated by L. A. DeRojas
Juan Bautista Alvarado1960252Declaration of Independence of California1836L. A. DeRojas

November 3, 1836

The most excellent Deputation of Upper California unto its inhabitants.


Heaven favors us; undoubtedly you are its select few, and this is why you are guided propitiously to happiness. You might have been until now the unfortunate beings of civil factions, whose leaders, satisfied with a passing triumph, pressed you to the limit of your docility and sufferings. You swore solemnly before God and man to be free or to perish rather than to be slaves. Thereby you adopted forever the federal constitution of 1824 as the only social and governing pact that you were to obey. Your government was organized at the expense of many sacrifices that unnaturalized sons found convenient to amass their fortunes and to develop their criminal tendencies. So that when it seemed that you were a certain patrimony for the tyrant aristocrats, you waived the banner of free men and said, “Federation or Death is the Californians’ fate !”

Thus you have exclaimed, and this so patriotic cry will forever be firmly engraved in our hearts, where the eternal and sacred flame of love of country burns. You have tasted the sweet nectar of liberty and you will not share it with impunity with the bitter cup of oppression !

California is free and it will cut off all relations with Mexico until the mother country cease being oppressed by the present ruling faction known as the central government. In order to accomplish such a grandiose and interesting purpose, all the inhabitants of this ground must unite and form one single party, one single mind. Be unanimous, Californians, and you will be invincible if you employ all the available resource at your disposal. Only proceeding in this manner can we prove to the world that we are firm in our convictions, and that we are federalists and free men–that we prefer death to slavery.

José Castro
Juan Bautista Alvarado
Antonio Buelna
José Antonio Noriega