Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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MANIFESTO. Taken in its widest sense this word signifies a solemn statement, a public declaration, which one power makes to another of its rights, its grievances, its claims, either before taking arms, to oblige the second to render it justice, or, after having had recourse to arms, to conciliate other nations. It is a proceeding which modern nations seem to have borrowed from the Romans. According to the fecial law, the herald at arms, called pater patratus, went, protected by his sacred character of ambassador, to demand satisfaction of the people who had offended the republic, and if within the space of thirty-three days such people had not made a satisfactory answer, the herald called the gods to witness the injustice, and returned, saying that the Romans would see what was to be done. This was the preliminary act of the declaration of war. (The Romans doubtless were not its inventors; the use of declarations must be more ancient, or more general.)


—There is also the manifesto of a sovereign, of the head of a state, of a government, to a people. But the word more generally employed is proclamation, as is shown by examples drawn from the later revolutions which took place in France. In this case the manifesto is frequently a kind of plea addressed to the tribunal whose decision is final, public opinion.


—One of the most celebrated manifestoes of modern history is that which was published, dated Coblentz, July 25, 1792, by the duke of Brunswick-Luneburg, which roused the indignation of all France. In 1859, after the Italian campaign, the emperor, Francis Joseph, addressed under the title, A manifesto to my peoples, a document in which he explained, with a sadness which was not without grandeur, the causes which had conduced to end the war.


—The manifestoes by which it is sought to lay before other nations or before the public, the rights, intentions, measures of a given state or government, require on the part of those who draw them up, propriety of terms and precision of ideas, without excluding the elevation and warmth of style which constitute eloquence. To prove, to convince, to speak to the mind and the heart, are the two great objects which it is proposed to attain, and in this instance the style is not confined to that austere brevity which is peculiar to other diplomatic documents.


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