Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pg. 69: David Armitage's "The Declaration of Independence"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The Declaration of Independence: A Global History, by David Armitage.

About the book, from the publisher:
Among the praise for The Declaration of Independence: A Global History:
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

More so than the Constitution ... the Declaration has also become a global document, a piece of intellectual and political common property that has transcended the circumstances of its creation and perhaps even the intentions of its authors. Surprisingly, this afterlife has not received systematic and "global" treatment by historians, and David Armitage is to be congratulated on his concise and well-written study of the Declaration as, to use his own words, 'an event, a document, and the beginning of a genre.' He shows that it was first and foremost an "international" document, driven by the need to establish the legitimacy of the united colonies within the state-system and thus their right to conclude alliances against Britain.
--Brendan Simms, Wall Street Journal

[Armitage's] core argument is fascinating and significant.
--Publishers Weekly

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

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 ... needs to be taken very seriously.
--Pauline Maier, author of American Scripture

Listen to a podcast lecture by Armitage on the Declaration.

David Armitage is Professor of History at Harvard University. His other books include: (ed.) British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory, 1500-1800 (2006); Greater Britain, 1516-1776: Essays in Atlantic History (2004); and The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000).

The Page 69 Test: The Declaration of Independence: A Global History.

--Marshal Zeringue