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💬 Declaration of Interdependence, by Meyer David, Christian Richard, and Will Durant (1944)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=35418 💬 Declaration of Interdependence, by Meyer David, Christian Richard, and Will Durant (1944) 2021-02-06 14:21:03 A Declaration of Interdependence co-authored during WW II as part of an interfaith Jewish-Christian response to fascism and "to mitigate racial and religious animosity in America." Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Will Durant Christian Richard Meyer I. David https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Modern Miscellany National Brotherhood Week anti-fascist interfaith tolerance interdependence human solidarity anti-racist anti-authoritarian civil declarations and charters 20th century C.E. pluralism United States 58th century A.M. American Jewry of the United States

Extension of Remarks of Hon. Ellis E. Patterson of California, in the House of Representatives Monday, October 1, 1945:

Mr. PATTERSON. Mr. Speaker, just as “Interdependence” has become the by-word and guiding light for the path to peace, prosperity, and good will in the family of the United Nations, so, too, can we apply the principle of interdependence within our own Nation—to our own American family of citizens of diverse national origins, varied religions and creeds, occupying numerous and sundry positions in life, and practicing multitudinous occupations, trades, and professions which go into the making of our great Nation.

Because I feel so strongly that within the word “interdependence” lies the clue and solution to a world of justice, dignity, and well-being for all, I wish to take this opportunity to acquaint my fellow colleagues who may not know of the outstanding, dynamic movement recently initiated in California for the purpose of promoting the principle of interdependence through education. This organization. the Declaration of Interdependence, Inc., inspired and headed by Dr. Will Durant, sponsored and endorsed by prominent persons the Nation over, is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and nonpolitical in character, seeking merely to propagate the noble American spirit of interracial and interreligious friendliness.

Now that we have won a great and glorious victory over the venomous forces of fascism, certain malicious elements of our society are seeking to spread in our own country the poisonous ingredients of the doctrines of the very enemies we defeated on the battlefield—racial and religious hatreds. For this reason, the appearance of the Declaration of Interdependence, Inc., on the scene at this time is of inestimable value in counteracting and defeating these forces. For, by learning to broaden the circle of our relations with our fellow man, we immeasurably enrich our lives in the sharing of the diverse qualities and cultures which have met and fused in this Nation since its inception. These differences increase the cultural richness of American life and stimulate all to give their best to the common lot.

In the words of Associate Justice Frank Murphy at the Interdependence for Americans rally at Hollywood Bowl on July 4 of this year, we can “reject the destructive doctrines of hate by a living affirmation of the positive values. We cannot wage the battle negatively.” In the following words of the declaration of interdependence, is the living affirmation of the brotherhood of man, which I firmly believe will in time be adopted in spirit by all Americans as an integral code of the democratic way of life so cherished by all:

(The Declaration of Interdependence is entered into the record.)

Among the signers of this fine statement of interdependence are the following outstanding citizens:

G.P. Agnew, Hon. Judge Curtis Bok, Mrs. Murray Boocock. G. Raymond Booth, Rev. Everett K. Bray, Prof. Ernest W. Burgess, Eddie Cantor, Morse A. Cartright, Vivian D. Corbly, Paul M. Cook, Hon. John M. Coffee, Emmanuel Chapman, Prof. Elizabeth Donnan, Theodore Dreiser, Prof. Charles A. Ellwood, Hon. Herman P. Eberharter, Hon. Sam C. Ford, Hon. Curtis E. Frank, Hon. John Anson Ford, Waldo Frank, Brig. Gen. Patrick J.H. Farrell, E.C. Farnham, D.D., Harry Fleischman, Edgar J. Fisher, Clarence M. Gallup, D.D., Dr. Robert Gordis, Hon. Bertrand W. Gearhart, Hon. J. Allison Glen, Mrs. Florence Eno Graves, Arthur Garfield Hays, Joseph C. Hazen, D.D., C.C. Hemenway, Walter Hilborn, Mary Francis Hill, Ernest Holmes, Rev. John Haynes Holmes, Herbert Hoover, Calvin E. Holman, Prof. Herman H. Horne, Darlington Hoopes, Hon. James T. Kirk, Mrs. Clara S. Littledale, Hugh E. Macbeth, Dr. Stewart P. MacLennan, Rabbi Edgar Magnin, Daniel L. Marsh, Adolph Meyer, M.D., Thomas Mann, Emma Guffey Miller, Prof. William Pepperill Montague, Robert Nathan, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. O’Dwyer, Miss Amy Burman Onken, Gwendolyn Peacher, Capt. Paul Perigord, Rear Admiral George H. Rock, United States Navy (retired), Dr. Frederick W. Roman, Prof. Edward A. Ross, Robert A. Rowan, Dr. L.S. Rowe, Harry Sandager, Eric Scudder, David O. Selznick, Mrs. Maurine Simpson, George Smedley Smith, Prof. Bradley Stoughton, Upton Sinclair, Prof. Pitirim A. Sorokin, Mrs. Oline C. Stewart. Rt. Rev. W. Bertrand Stevens, Clarence K. Streit, Raymond Swing, Hon. Elbert D. Thomas, Dave Tipp, Ralph Waldo Trine, J. Barnard Walton, Althea Warren, Hon. Samuel A. Weiss, Mary D. Webb, Hon. Thomas Vien, Hon. Jerry Voorhis, L.A. Weingarten.

I sincerely hope that the group of those who espouse this just creed will grow and grow. I am sure that many of my colleagues here will be interested and also become sponsors of such a worthy objective.


Contribute a translationSource (English)

Declaration of Interdependence

Human progress having reached a high level
through respect for the liberty and dignity of men,
it has become desirable to re-affirm these evident truths:

That differences of race, color and creed are natural,
and that diverse groups, institutions, and ideas
are stimulating factors in the development of men;

That to promote harmony in diversity
is a responsible task of religion and statesmanship;

That since no individual can express the whole truth,
it is essential to treat with understanding and good will
those whose views differ from our own;

That by the testimony of history
intolerance is the door to violence, brutality, and dictatorship; and

That the realization of human interdependence and solidarity
is the best guard of civilization.

Therefore, we solemnly resolve,
and invite everyone to join in united action,

To uphold and promote human fellowship
through mutual consideration and respect;

To champion human dignity and decency,
and to safeguard these without distinction of race or color or creed;

To strive in concert with others
to discourage all animosities arising from these differences,
and to unite all groups in the fair play of civilized life.

Rooted in freedom,
children of the same Divine Father,[1] As suggested by Dr. Everett Clinchy, then president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.  
sharing everywhere a common human blood,
we declare again that all men are brothers,
and that mutual tolerance is the price of liberty.

In 1933, US Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace first invoked the term, Declaration of Interdependence — “a recognition of our essential unity and of our absolute reliance one upon another” — in a radio address given in relation to the Farm Act of 1933. A decade later during World War II, in 1944, Meyer I. David and Christian Richard were inspired by the historian Will Durant to compose a Declaration of Interdependence, “to mitigate racial and religious animosity in America.” The movement for the declaration, Declaration of INTERdependence, Inc., was launched at a gala dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on March 22, 1945 attended by over 400 people including Thomas Mann and Bette Davis. The Declaration was read into the Congressional Record on October 1, 1945 by Ellis E. Patterson.[2] Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 79th Congress First Session — Appendix (vol. 91, part 12) 11 June 1945 to 11 October 1945), p. A-4114.  The story behind the composition and launch of the declaration is detailed in A Dual Autobiography by Will & Ariel Durant (1977), pp. 236-241. Will Durant writes,

One day, I believe in April, 1944, a Jew, Meyer (now Michael) David, and a Christian, Dr. Christian Richard, came to me with an unusual request: to suggest some constructive enterprise that could give their social ardor some work and wings. I proposed that they do something to mitigate racial and religious animosity in America. Just as independence had been the motto of states and individuals since 1750, so the motto of the coming generations should be interdependence. And just as no state can now survive by its own unaided power, so no democracy can long endure without recognizing and encouraging the interdependence of the racial and religious groups composing it; we need a Declaration of Interdependence.

On April 15, 1944, Meyer and Christian issued the following Introductory Statement to a Declaration of Interdependence. “Dr. Will Durant, at his Hollywood home, recently, in a conference with Dr. Christian Richard and Mr. Meyer I. David, suggested the desirability of an organized stand for human tolerance. ‘Write a declaration of interdependence,’ said Dr. Durant, ‘and I will sign it.’ This idea appealed to them. They worked at it, and presented a draft. …The Declaration needed a finishing touch, and Will Durant gave it its final form. This final form seemed to us a document worthy of Thomas Jefferson himself.”

The form as we had originally finished it concluded: “Rooted in freedom, bonded in the fellowship of danger,” etc. Dr. Everett Clinchy, then president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, suggested that this should be changed to “Rooted in freedom, children of the same Divine Father…” His proposal was submitted to an “executive committee composed of Mr. David, Dr. Richard, Dr. Stewart P. MacLennan (a prominent clergyman), John Anson Ford (of the Board of Supervisors governing Los Angeles County), Eric Scudder (a leading attorney), Mrs. Althea Warren (county librarian), and nine others, including myself. The proposal was accepted, and the Declaration was sent out over America, with a request for signatures and contributions.

Unfortunately, little is recorded on the background of Dr. Christian Richard. (Any further information a reader may have is welcome! Please contact us.)


Declaration of Interdependence (Congressional Record 1945 – vol. 91 Appendix to the Congressional Record A4114)





1As suggested by Dr. Everett Clinchy, then president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
2Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 79th Congress First Session — Appendix (vol. 91, part 12) 11 June 1945 to 11 October 1945), p. A-4114.



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