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5.11: Manifesto

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    A manifesto\(^{121}\) is a document wherein a person, government, or organization outlines their intentions, motivations, and/or views. These texts ask and attempt to answer the question: What do I believe? The Declaration of Independence is a form of manifesto. There are artistic manifestos, philosophical manifestos, corporate manifestos, personal manifestos, and political manifestos. A religious manifesto is referred to as “a creed”. The word manifesto comes from Latin, and it connotes something which is very clear and conspicuous. While the length and content of a manifesto varies between each one, any well-composed manifesto will not only present a clear attack on a worldview, but also a practical means to manifest goals. When writing a manifesto, you should keep all this in mind.

    Writing the Manifesto

    Identify yourself and your aims. This might include your personal beliefs, your worldview, and your experiences that directly inform your manifesto. By introducing yourself, your readers will have a better sense of your life course.

    • Make sure that you share life details related to your ideas.
    • Relate important experiences from work, school, or life that help readers see you as an authority.
    • Mentioning your degree in art might be useful in an artist's manifesto, just as civil service would be worth mentioning in a political manifesto.

    Include a thesis. There should be some unifying point to your manifesto. This is delivered in your introduction. It will be a compelling argument, connecting all your ideas together. Make sure you take time to craft a well-written thesis statement.

    Explain your precepts in the introduction. A precept is an actionable ideal, an instruction meant to regulate behavior or thought. Tell your readers a little about what ideals they're going to read about, before they go into it. You don't want to say everything, just a little bit, so that readers can engage with your manifesto's larger picture. Give yourself at least one sentence to mention the main points of your manifesto.

    • You can use bullet points to list your precepts.
    • Follow a precept up with a sentence explanation if you need clarity but save most of your explaining for the body paragraphs. If it isn't merely presenting the precept, don't put it in the introduction.

    Give a plan for action. Don't just provide your ideas. Offer a direction for change. Manifestos are revolutionary by nature. Though not all revolutions are equal in scale, all share in this desire for change.

    • Focus on verbs to evoke a sense of action. Avoid verbs like "am/is/are", "have/has" and other passive constructions. For example: "Every artist manifests Art itself," instead of "Every artist is Art itself."
    • Use concrete details. Avoid words like "thing" and "something", as these are not specific. For example: "Something in our political system disturbs me" becomes "Negligence in our political system disturbs me."
    • Take a current problem and re-imagine it changed through your ideology.

    FAQ

    What's the key difference between a mission statement and a manifesto?

    A manifesto is a declaration of someone's intentions, motives or ideas. It usually proposes some changes that the group or individual thinks should be made to the current system of government. A mission statement is what a company sets itself as its intended goal.

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    Excerpt from “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr.\(^{122}\)

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    I have a dream today!

    I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

    I have a dream today!

    I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

    This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

    With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

    And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

    My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

    And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

    And so, let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

    Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

    Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

    Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

    Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

    But not only that:

    Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

    Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

    Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

    From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

    And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

    Free at last! Free at last!

    Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!


    \(^{121}\)This guide was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD; Updated: March 29, 2019. Wikihow. https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Manifesto

    \(^{122}\)For the full speech and audio, go to this web site: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/spe...haveadream.htm


    This page titled 5.11: Manifesto is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe (Independent Published) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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