Sunday, February 4, 2007
Reviewed: Armitage, The Declaration of Independence
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
Another eight in Europe, after World War I, and, to go back further, 20 countries (several of them more than once) between 1810 and 1844, as Spain's colonial empire in South and Central America fragmented, issued declarations of independence.
An "outbreak of a contagion of sovereignty," a veritable "pandemic" even, writes David Armitage, a professor of history at Harvard, in "The Declaration of Independence," a provocative study of a subject about which one might have thought there was nothing new to report....
The thrust of these foreign declarations has been to make statements of independence and to place the new nations, of Eastern Europe, colonial Africa, or Latin America, among the nations of the world, Armitage writes, " rather than an enumeration of the rights of individuals against their governors."
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