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Famous Manifestos – Our Top Ten

Famous Manifestos : US Declaration of IndependenceIn our previous post we looked at What is a Manifesto and here’s ten famous manifestos…

Ten Famous Manifestos

1 The Bible and the Ten Commandments

Perhaps the most famous manifestos of all time is also the most popular book ever written. It was also the first book ever mass produced. It’s The Bible. It’s the sacred document for the Christian and Judaism faiths. In particular, the Ten Commandments are a crucial element. They define the rules for living of the religion. And, in manifesto terms they create the template for creating your own manifesto.

You could also add the major texts from all religions here. Wikipedia has an extensive list on this page.

2 The US Declaration of Independence

A manifesto that starts a country is a rare and powerful statement. And, that is the what the US Declaration of Independence is – a manifesto that gave rise to one of the most powerful countries on the planet. Significantly, at the time it was written, this manifesto was an act of treason. It was proclaiming that the US be formed and separate from British rule. It’s little wonder that a war broke out as a result. And, ultimately a new country was formed.

3 Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech

Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech is widely regarded as the most famous manifestos and speeches ever given. King delivered his speech to over 250,000 people from the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. It was a pivotal moment in the US Civil Rights campaign and also became a worldwide call for individuals to aspire to fulfilling their own dreams. I still get goosebumps every time I hear this!

4 The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Whenever I mention the word ‘manifesto’ the first thing that comes to mind for most people is The Communist Manifesto. Whilst few people know the details of this famous book, the title is widely known. Recognized as one of the most influential political documents ever written. Written by Marx and Engel in 1848, it creates the core ideology of Socialism. Many years later it changed the world through the adoption of the Communist doctrine by Russia and a suite of Eastern European countries. And, ultimately the collision of ideology between Capitalist and Socialist/Communist lead to the post WW2 Cold War and put the world on the brink of a nuclear war.

5 Apple Ad: Here’s to the Crazy Ones

One of the most famous manifestos in the corporate realm is Apple’s ad campaign Here’s to the Crazy Ones. It was created in 1997 shortly after Steve Jobs return as CEO. This manifesto is significant because it not only defines the Apple mission for internal staff, it becomes the badge of honour for the faithful followers. Now can now pursue their own genius!

6 Andre Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto

Art lovers may know this one… Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto also gave birth to a new art and cultural movement in Europe in the 1920s. Breton and the Surrealists built on the Dada movement and translated Freud’s work into the creative arts. They believed that Freud’s work on dream analysis, free association and the unconscious were crucial to enhancing one’s imagination and ultimately creative expression.

Marinetti’s The Futurist Manifesto is another famous art manifesto.

7 John F Kennedy’s Land a Man on the Moon speech

This is one of the few of our famous manifestos that had a highly specific goal. JFK made one of the most famous declarations in history in his Land a Man on the Moon speech. Partly out of response to the US recession and the drive to control space in the Cold War with the Communist countries, landing on the moon became a major focus for the US for almost a decade. And, when Neil Armstrong put his foot on the moon on the 20 July 1969 it became a defining moment in human history and the fulfillment of a famous manifesto.

8 Russell – Einstein Manifesto to question the use of Nuclear Weapons

Of the famous manifestos listed here this may be the least well know. It was created by philosopher Bertrand Russell and scientist Albert Einstein on the 9th of July 1955. It was the height of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war was a shadow on the world. Co-signed by a number of leading scientists and thinkers, it lead to a series of conferences and world wide discussion on nuclear weapons.

9 Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger and Rick Levine’s The Cluetrain Manifesto

Another book in our set of 10 famous manifestos. This one written in 1999 challenged the future of business in an online world. It comprised 99 ideas that challenged existing business thinking. It is still widely referred to today.

10 Peter Fonda and Dennis Hoppers movie, Easy Rider

A movie as a manifesto? Manifestos can have multiple forms. And, this highly popular film from the 1969 captured elements of generational change in the US. It highlighted the counterculture elements of drugs, bikies, hippies and communal life. This famous manifesto also sparked a new release of energy for the US film industry.

Which other famous manifestos would you add to this list?

A number of people have commented and one of the most popular manifestos on is Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto.


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