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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Friday, July 04, 2008

How the Declaration of Independence Changed the World

This isn't something I'd ever considered: the Declaration of Independence as worldwide catalyst.

The ideas Jefferson expressed, which justified the reasons for revolt with a list of charges against the British king, weren't original. A number of global texts written during the highly charged Enlightenment years of the 17th and 18th centuries included similar ideals about liberty and the right to self-determination, and Americans throughout the colonies were already promoting the progressive worldview in newspapers and schoolbooks.
Movement away from the right of kings, and toward self-determination and individual liberty was the "progressive worldview." Ah, how progressivism has changed!

It was the fiery political climate into which the Declaration was born that made Jefferson's words so important. When his final draft was edited and adopted by Congress on July 4th, the statement signified independence, but it also solidified the path to all-out war, and not just in the new United States.

Immediately after it was printed, the Declaration sparked worldwide debate on the legitimacy of colonial rule.
You're welcome, world! Now quit bitching about our viral culture.

Several countries used the document as a shining beacon in their own struggles for independence and adopted Jefferson as their figurehead. Jefferson himself predicted that American independence would be a catalyzing force — a "ball of liberty," he called it — that would soon make its way across the globe.
The original "Domino Theory." And that was all before the internet. We're fascinated today by the way we can see what's happening in other parts of the globe while it's happening. Things were, obviously, a lot slower then, and the "debate" was probably limited to a very few people, but people were watching what was happening here in the (soon-to-be) U.S., and what happened here did have consequences thousands of miles away.

Cool. And a facet of history I'd never heard or considered before.

Hey, what else is on this internet?