Churchill and the Declaration of Independence

At the end of her terrific book on the Declaration of Independence, Pauline Maier marveled that by 1943 Archibald MacLeish was calling that text “is a part of the British inheritance as it is of ours.” “Just imagine George III’s amazement,” she said, “at leaning that the Declaration of Independence would one day become a constructive part of the British Heritage.”

How did this happen? The alliance between Britain and the United States during the two world wars is part of the answer. But Churchill is also part of the answer  I believe that his repeated statement of this connection made the Declaration an Anglo-American text  On Independence Day in 1918, he gave a speech describing the Declaration as the “third title deed on which the liberties of the English-speaking people are founded.”  (After Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights of 1689). He made this comparison many times after this, especially in the “Iron Curtain” speech of 1946. More on this in another post

 

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