About the Project:

The Journal of American History's round table on translations of the Declaration of Independence seemed like a natural candidate for on-line publication. Although the print journal was able to devote a substantial number of pages in the March 1999 issue to the round table, it could not also include the many versions of the Declaration of Independence, as it has been translated into different languages and at different times. On the Web, we are able to include this richer documentation. Where possible, moreover, we have also included "naive" retranslations back into English so that those who don't know the different languages can get a sense of how some key concepts and words have been rendered.

Two other features of this project also recommended it for on-line publication. First, we are able to make this an open-ended and evolving project. (Readers will note, for example, that we have not yet been able to post the translations for all the languages discussed in the round table.) We would welcome contributions of other translations of the Declaration of Independence (along perhaps with commentary about those translations). If you are interested in participating, please email Roy Rosenzweig. Second, given the international character of the project, it seemed particularly appropriate to put this on an international medium--the World Wide Web--where it is available for free to scholars, students, and others around the world.

This online presentation was developed by Jessica Finnefrock, Michael O'Malley, and Roy Rosenzweig at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. We would like to thank Leslie Sanborn and John Sanborn of Asterisk Typographics and Scott Stephan of the JAH for their assistance.

We welcome your comments on this experiment, please email Roy Rosenzweig.