The Lecturer: Dr. David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Harvard, where he teaches intellectual and international history. He has lectured on six continents and has held research fellowships and visiting positions in Britain, France, the United States and Australia. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, among them The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (2000), which won the Longman/History Today Book of the Year Award, The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2007), which was chosen as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, and The History Manifesto (2014), a New Statesman Book of the Year.
The Lecture: Dr. 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. Dr. Armitage will be singing copies of his book on the Declaration after the lecture. Free food and drinks will be served.