The Declaration of Independence: A Global History

The Declaration of Independence: A Global History

by David Armitage

Hardcover

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Overview

In a stunningly original look at the American Declaration of Independence, David Armitage reveals the document in a new light: through the eyes of the rest of the world. Not only did the Declaration announce the entry of the United States onto the world stage, it became the model for other countries to follow.

Armitage examines the Declaration as a political, legal, and intellectual document, and is the first to treat it entirely within a broad international framework. He shows how the Declaration arose within a global moment in the late eighteenth century similar to our own. He uses over one hundred declarations of independence written since 1776 to show the influence and role the U.S. Declaration has played in creating a world of states out of a world of empires. He discusses why the framers' language of natural rights did not resonate in Britain, how the document was interpreted in the rest of the world, whether the Declaration established a new nation or a collection of states, and where and how the Declaration has had an overt influence on independence movements—from Haiti to Vietnam, and from Venezuela to Rhodesia.

Included is the text of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and sample declarations from around the world. An eye-opening list of declarations of independence since 1776 is compiled here for the first time. This unique global perspective demonstrates the singular role of the United States document as a founding statement of our modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674022829
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 01/15/2007
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,095,013
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

David Armitage is Professor of History at Harvard University.

Table of Contents


Introduction     1
The World in the Declaration of Independence     25
The Declaration of Independence in the World     63
A World of Declarations     103
Conclusion     139
Declarations of Independence, 1776-1993     145
Thomas Jefferson's "Original Rough Draft" of the Declaration of Independence     157
In Congress, July 4, 1776. A Declaration By the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled     165
[Jeremy Bentham,] Short Review of the Declaration (1776)     173
Manifesto of the Province of Flanders [extracts] (January 4, 1790)     187
The Haitian Declaration of Independence (January 1, 1804)     193
The Venezuelan Declaration of Independence (July 5, 1811)     199
Declaration of the Independence of New Zealand (October 28, 1835)     209
The Unanimous Declaration of Independence made by the Delegates of the People of Texas (March 2, 1836)     211
A Declaration of Independence by the Representatives of the People of the Commonwealth of Liberia (July 16, 1847)     217
Declaration of Independence of the Czechoslovak Nation (October 18, 1918)     225
Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (September 2, 1945)     231
Declaration of the Establishment of theState of Israel (May 14, 1948)     237
The Unilateral Declaration of Independence (Southern Rhodesia); (November 11, 1965)     243
Notes     249
Acknowledgments     287
Index     291

What People are Saying About This

This concise, readable book makes a powerful contribution to scholarship on the Declaration of Independence. From a global perspective, it seems, the document’s significance lies less in its second paragraph (‘all men are created equal’) than in its conclusion, where it declared independence. Armitage’s argument might provoke some opposition, but his evidence—ignored by previous scholars—needs to be taken very seriously.

Pauline Maier

This concise, readable book makes a powerful contribution to scholarship on the Declaration of Independence. From a global perspective, it seems, the document’s significance lies less in its second paragraph (‘all men are created equal’) than in its conclusion, where it declared independence. Armitage’s argument might provoke some opposition, but his evidence—ignored by previous scholars—needs to be taken very seriously.
Pauline Maier, author of American Scripture

Peter S. Onuf

In this brilliant work, Armitage not only illuminates the American founding but offers a provocative perspective on the modern world as a whole. There is nothing on the American Declaration that compares with this extraordinary book.
Peter S. Onuf, author of Jefferson's Empire

Christopher Bayly

David Armitage's fascinating and lucidly written book will establish itself as a key contribution to what is virtually a new field of study: the transnational history of ideas.

Christopher Bayly, co-author of Forgotten Armies and Forgotten Wars

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The Declaration of Independence: A Global History 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Othemts on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2007) by David Armitage takes a different approach to studying the Declaration of Independence of the United States by showing how it's been received around the world and how it's affected history and politics globally since it's publication. Even Americans need a review of what exactly the Declaration of Independence is, and Armitage sums it up in three parts: 1) a statement of the world of independency of the American states, 2) a summary of the offenses by the King of Great Britain that lead to this break, and 3) a statement of political philosopy on the rights of human beings.Modern Americans remember the Declaration for the latter, but is the first two parts that were important at the time. Governments around the world had to decide whether to recognize the United States and for many declaring independence was not enough, but force of arms prevailed on opinions. Others attacked the notions of the rights of men in the Declaration, most notably Jeremy Bentham whose interesting questions regarding how something can't be self-evident just because one says so is included in a complete republication in the book's appendix.The Declaration would also influence the independency of future nations with a declaration of independence an important part in their creation whether the country was born in revolution or peacefully ceded. These often cribbed words and structure straight from the US Declaration, most strikingly in the 1945 Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam written by Ho Chi Minh. Other declarations are different in their goals. Armitage makes the comparison of how the US Declaration speaks of continued friendship with British bretheren, while the Haitian Declaration makes a point of stating eternal hatred to the French. Perhaps that's the effect of really being enslaved instead of using slavery as a political analogy.Armitage has written an interesting book from an unique perspective. It's a quick read even if at times it appears to be a doctoral thesis or maybe a long research paper. The appendix includes a number of worldwide Declarations of Independence in their full-text from 1776 to the present day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago