Declaration Project

Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States (July 4, 1876)

Editor’s Note: Not everything went according to the carefully planned script during our Centennial celebration of the Declaration of Independence, held at Independence Square in Philadelphia. At the proceedings, five of our nation’s most prominent women’s rights activists –Matilda Joslyn Gage, Phoebe W. Couzins, Sara Andrews Spencer, Susan B. Anthony, and Lillie Devereux Blake — interrupted the […]

Declaration of Common Aims of the Independent Mid-European Nations (1918)

Editor’s note: A veritable declaration of independence was issued on October 26, 1918, after leaders of mid-European nations convened in for several days at Independence Hall in Philadelphia — of all places — shortly before the ending of World War I and the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Thomas Masaryk, a professor who would become […]

The Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World (1920)

Editor’s note: On August 13, 1920, this declaration of black grievances, rights and principles was drafted and adopted at a convention of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, presided over by Marcus Garvey, a leading advocate of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism. Garvey had a sizable following of disenfranchised black Americans — as demonstrated by the more than 20,000 […]

Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth (April 22, 2010)

Editor’s note: The product of the 2010 World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother earth, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and attended by progressive activists and indigenous leaders from around the world, among others, this expressive document asserts that the Earth itself is a living being has inherent rights. Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother […]

Magna Carta – a.k.a. Declaration of the Rule of Law (June 12, 1215)

Editor’s Note: Often referred to as the ‘Declaration of the rule of law,’ the Magna Carta, or ‘Great Charter,’ was enacted in 1215, the culmination of the efforts of English barons to limit monarchical rule and enumerate rights for the people (especially people like them). In one of its most-known clauses, the Magna Carta states that “No […]

Declaration of War on Poverty in America (1964)

Editor’s Note:  This declaration was not written on parchment, but rather was issued about halfway through President Johnson’s first State of the Union Address.  It was LBJ’s opening salvo in “unconditional war on poverty in America.” Johnson considered it vital “to declare war on a domestic enemy which threatens the strength of our nation and […]

Declaration of Dependence by the Children of America in Mines and Factories and Workshops Assembled (ca. 1910)

Editor’s Note: Journalist, Presbyterian minister and child labor advocate Alexander J. McKelway (1866-1918), who was instrumental in early efforts to enact legislation to address child labor reform, crafted this concise “declaration of dependence” — really a declaration of children’s rights — sometime between 1910 and 1913, though he claims its true authors are all of America’s […]

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2009)

Editor’s Note: On September 13, 2007, this ground-breaking declaration was approved by the UN General Assembly, with 144 states voting in favor, with four — the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia, which have large indigenous populations — voting against, and with 11 states abstaining. Australia endorsed the document, which is not legally binding, on […]

Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, 1928

Editor’s Note: A precursor to the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, this 1928 document was adapted by the members of the League of Nations. It is unprecedented in that it sets forth for the first time in a formal international accord that children have rights and that adults have responsibilities towards assuring […]