On April 8, 1944, Pulitzer Prize-winning philosopher Will Durant was approached by two leaders in the Jewish and Christian communities, Mr. Meyer David and Dr. Christian Richard, about collaborating on a project of social significance. Recalled Durant:

Dr. Richard and Mr. David came to me with suggestions to organize a movement, to raise moral standards. I talked them out of it, and suggested, instead, they work against racial intolerance. I outlined the argument, and proposed a Declaration of Interdependence. I thought the phrase was original with me, but found it had been used before -- however, only in regard to international political independence. I asked them to draw up such a Declaration, and promised to sign it if I liked it.

Durant, David, and Richard outlined their plans for the movement and drafted a declaration that represented their core beliefs. This document Durant called "A Declaration of Interdependence". In Ariel and Will Durant's dual autobiography, Will Durant expressed his reasoning for his recommendation:

Just as independence has 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.

The Declaration of Interdependence was launched on March 22, 1945 at a gala event in Hollywood. The following is a transcript of the L.A. Times report:


LA Times
March 23, 1945

"First of all, we shall try to practice what we preach." So declared Will Durant when, as president of the organization, he outlined principles and aims of the Declaration of Interdependence, Inc., at its inaugural dinner, attended by 400 persons, in the Hollywood Roosevelt last night.

Principal speakers, in addition to Durant, who presided, were Thomas Mann and Bette Davis. Reminding his listeners that the Declaration of Interdependence is a movement to promote human tolerance and fellowship through mutual consideration and respect, Durant remarked, "Perhaps our casualty lists will help to inculcate mutual appreciation among races."

Collaboration with other groups having similar aims; Congressional approval of the declaration; dissemination of the declaration and its principles through schools, churches, drama and motion pictures, and the presentation of an elaborate Concert of Americans in the Hollywood Bowl on July 4 were listed by Durant as the major aims of the organization. He then appealed for contributing members. "All problems -- political, economical and cultural -- that occupy mankind today," said Mann in concluding his speech, "can be reduced to a single one: To find a new equilibrium of liberty and equality compatible with the new age: to guide the peoples and nations into a form of socialism that will honor the right of the individual."

Will Durant showed his committment to the movement by escorting his black housekeeper, a woman named Bleeker McGlendon, to the event. Ariel Durant writes:

"When he arrived he startled all of us, white and black alike, by entering with our maid Bleeker McGlendon on his arm and escorting her to her seat; I could imagine a hundred interdependent souls whispering, "Good God! Does he take this business seriously?"

Will Durant has written in a lecture:

"Our main task is to reduce the causes of racial animosity. First by recognizing that we are all guilty. Which of us has never uttered a word of racial hositility? Let us resolve never to do it again. Let us watch our own conduct, and by our moderation, our modesty, our good will, given no handle or excuse to racial division. Let us burn the second half of this Declaration into our hearts, and make a sacred vow, here and now."

The high point of the movement was the Declaration of Interdependence being entered into the Congressional Record in 1949. The movement began to lose momentum soon thereafter as the principals involved moved on to other things. A few years later the civil rights movement emerged, echoing many of the same sentiments that Durant had expressed in his Declaration of Interdependence.

Given the continued racial, nationalistic, and religious intolerance in the world, the Will and Ariel Durant Foundation has recognized that the new millenium is an ideal time to reintroduce this declaration to the public. To that end the foundation has begun a new signature drive, to encourage people who agree with the principles of the Declaration of Interdependence to let their voices be heard. In addition to this, the foundation has instituted the following programs:

  • The Declaration of Interdependence is now being taught in college classes
  • Placement of copies of the Declaration of Interdependence in schools and places of worship throughout the United States and abroad
  • Collecting statements of support for the Declaration from individuals who share its vision
  • Promoting multicultural events that will foster an environment of mutual appreciation and openness to new experiences

With the advent of the Internet age, it is now even easier to lend your support to this just cause. If you would like to participate in the signature drive, you can download a printable copy of the Declaration by clicking the following pages. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view these files.

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Signatures Page

If you would simply like to add your name to support the effort, you can do so by sending an email to the following address:


Please include your full name, country and city of origin, and occupation. Your name will be added to a registry of supporters that is available for viewing online at the Will and Ariel Durant Online's website. To view the registry, please see the link below.

Declaration of Interdependence Registry