- "We believe that the Galactic Empire has willfully and malignantly usurped the rights of the free beings of the Galaxy and therefore, it is our unalienable right to abolish it from the Galaxy."
- ―An excerpt from the Declaration of Rebellion
The Declaration of Rebellion was a document addressed to the Galactic Emperor, Sheev Palpatine, that marked the formal declaration of open resistance against the Galactic Empire. Its text was written by Senator-in-Exile Mon Mothma, the chancellor of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and was designed to push back against the Imperial notion that the Rebel Alliance was a group of terrorists. The Declaration came to be known as one of the foundational documents of the New Republic, which arose to replace the fallen Empire after the signing of the Galactic Concordance, which brought the end of the Galactic Civil War.
In the years after the formation of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, various rebel cells began a campaign of armed resistance against the Galactic Emperor, Darth Sidious, and his Imperial regime. Many of these cells eventually came together under the leadership of such individuals as Senator Mon Mothma of Chandrila, Viceroy Bail Organa of Alderaan, and Captain Hera Syndulla of Ryloth. Together, these cells formed the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The Empire painted the Rebel Alliance as bloodthirsty anarchists, so the Alliance sought to push back on that notion and make clear that their goal was to restore the Galactic Republic that Sidious, known publicly as Emperor Palpatine, had supplanted at the end of the Clone Wars.
To counter the Imperial propaganda, Senator-in-Exile Mon Mothma crafted the Declaration of Rebellion. The document was a condemnation of Emperor Palpatine and detailed what the Alliance saw as his crimes against the galaxy. The Alliance purposefully crafted the document in language based around the law to both legitimize the rebel cause and to emphasize that the Empire was an illegal regime. The document stressed that the Rebellion sought to build a better galaxy, not destroy it as the Empire claimed, and that the Rebellion's true name was the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
Mothma delivered the Declaration of Rebellion from an undisclosed location using the HoloNet and other channels. The message spread throughout the galaxy, with various posters and other artwork being created with Mothma's words. In some cases, this artwork was crafted by the Rebel Alliance itself to spread its own message, but mostly was the work of revolutionaries who sought a unifying message and banner to fight under. In the years that followed, the Galactic Civil War led to the defeat of the Empire. The Declaration came to be seen as one of the foundational documents of the New Republic, which came to power towards the end of the war and replaced the Imperial regime.
|Source: Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy||Attribution: Formal Declaration of Rebellion from the Alliance to Restore the Republic|
We, the beings of the Rebel Alliance, do this day send forth this Declaration to His Majesty, the Emperor, and to all sentient beings in the Galaxy, to make clear to all the Purposes and Goals of this Rebellion.
We firmly acknowledge the importance and necessity of the institution of Galactic Government. We accept that all must subjugate themselves to that Government, giving up certain rights and freedoms, in return for peace, prosperity and happiness for all.
We believe that the Galactic Empire has willfully and malignantly usurped the rights of the free beings of the Galaxy and therefore, it is our unalienable right to abolish it from the Galaxy.
We do not take this course lightly. Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes, but when a Government displays a history of usurpation, abuse and moral atrocity, displaying a clear design to subjugate totally and absolutely beings born free under the auspices of nature, it is our right—our duty—to depose of that Government.
The history of the present Galactic Empire is of repeated injuries upon its members, with the direct objective of establishing you, Emperor Palpatine, as absolute tyrant over the Galaxy:
We, the Rebel Alliance, do therefore in the name—and by the authority—of the free beings of the Galaxy, solemnly publish and declare our intentions:
To these ends, we pledge our property, our honor, and our lives.
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Behind the scenes
The text of the Declaration of Rebellion first appeared in the The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, a 1990 reference book written by Paul Murphy. The text was brought into the official Star Wars canon in the 2016 reference book Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy, by Lucasfilm Story Group creative executive Pablo Hidalgo. The declaration shares some overall similarities in structure, tone and choice of words with the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776, which inspired several similar documents in real life.
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy (First pictured)
- Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- Star Wars: Rogue One: Rebel Dossier (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 57 (Weapons & Uniforms: Chopper Base–Atollon)
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 71 (Databank A-Z: Zam Wesell–Wexley)