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Regarding the comma after the earth:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

As I can understand, there's no hard rules in English regarding use of punctuation marks, so one can put them simply anywhere if it makes the meaning of a sentence clearer. Yes?

  • one people..?? – Maulik V Jan 3 '15 at 9:42
  • @MaulikV "People" is also a singular noun, meaning the members of a particular nation, community or ethnic group. – David Richerby Jan 3 '15 at 12:19
  • @DavidRicherby do you mean a 'mass noun'? Still, one people! – Maulik V Jan 3 '15 at 12:47
  • @MaulikV No, I mean a singular noun. The Americans are one people; the British are one people; the Americans and the British are two peoples (and about 380 million people, in the other sense of the word). – David Richerby Jan 3 '15 at 12:51
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    @Maulik V this is when 'people' means the entire body of persons who constitute a community or other group by virtue of a common culture, religion, or the like – user6951 Jan 3 '15 at 14:20
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Punctuation originally reflected natural syntactic pauses. Since the phrase "among the powers of the earth" interrupts the main verb-phrase "to assume ... the separate and equal station" in order to qualify it, a natural syntactic pause occurs after "earth":

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them...

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