Decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind

Why did Americans care about other people’s opinions? One important reason why the Americans needed a Declaration of Independence was to persuade other nations that the American’s revolution was legitimate, and therefore other nations should support America against the English. After the Declaration was published, nations like the French and the Dutch became valuable allies, lending money and sending troops. Fifty years after the Declaration’s signing, Jefferson hoped that the Declaration would continue to be a “signal” to “the world,” an encouragement to all mankind that they should follow the American example and “assume the blessings and security of self-government.” Jefferson was right: today, more than half the nations of the world have a Declaration of Independence.