Given the following sentence in the American Declaration of Independence:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object 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.

I understand the sentence as a substantiation for the making of a new US government, however what does the particular highlighted phrase mean?

  • 2
    After checking the dictionary definitions of the less familiar words, such as invariably and object (used in this sense to mean a goal or aim), what is it you don't understand?
    – aedia λ
    Jan 19, 2012 at 21:46
  • 1
    It might be easier if you imagine a comma after the word "object" (which in this case means "goal"). That would make it clearer that the subject of the verb "pursuing" is "the abuses and usurpations". The object (goal) of the abuses is always (invariably) the same (to keep the people from exercising their rights, mentioned far earlier). So this part of the sentence is simply describing the abuses, and then after the word object, they continue with the idea; the abuses show a plan to reduce the people to living under despotism.
    – Julia
    Jan 20, 2012 at 1:15
  • I think the answer would have been easier if you noticed two things here. The use of the, in fact, the same, before 'Object', and the capitalization of 'Object' itself. This suggests a reference to previous definition and/or discussion of 'Object'. What 'Object' is, is not amenable to literary speculation given the context.
    – Kris
    Jan 20, 2012 at 7:33

4 Answers 4


pursuing > seeking to attain
invariably > consistently
the same Object > the same goal or purpose


It means there was a long series of events, actions, and behaviors, which all could be interpreted as working toward the same ultimate goal.


The term monomania had not yet been invented. Obviously, the concept was around.

  • 1
    I'm sorry, I fail to see how this addresses the question.
    – Marthaª
    Jan 19, 2012 at 23:06
  • The Declaration of Independence includes what later became a standard part of the definition of monomania. The implication in the declaration looks to be one of pathological behaviour. Jan 19, 2012 at 23:46

For God's sake, it is a fairly easy translation it is sad that people don't write like this anymore. It is one of the most important sections in the DOI. It means that when there have been a long train of abuses (by abusive government, or a controlling authority such as a king or dictator) ...then " it is their right, their duty to throw off such government and provide new guards" ....therefore if there is something wrong that those that have the ability to take action must take action and elect, overthrow or otherwise make the change like our founders did leaving England and patriots that won the revolutionary war

  • There's no need to be irritable. If someone doesn't understand, they don't understand. Simple as that.
    – Mynamite
    Aug 13, 2015 at 19:41
  • Downvoted because the question specifically asks about "pursuing invariably the same Object", but this answer does not address it. Everything in this answer I agree with, but it did not address the bold text part of the question
    – DSKekaha
    Jul 1, 2020 at 3:34

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