A manifesto is a document that details the values, principles, and goals of an individual or political organization. Manifestos are generally written as public documents and provide people with information about a group or movement, but manifestos can also be secret and designed to provide internal guidance for an organization or government. Manifestos are often issued to explain policy changes or to accompany the launch of a new political party or grouping. Examples of influential political manifestos include the U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776), the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), the Communist Manifesto (1848), and the Contract with America (1994). For instance, the Declaration of Independence promulgated the founding principles of the U.S. political system, while the Communist Manifesto was instrumental in the development of communism as a political ideology. During election campaigns, parties and candidates typically develop manifestos that highlight policy stances and provide an overview of their legislative agendas. In the United States and other countries, such manifestos are commonly referred to as party platforms. Extremist groups and marginal political factions often endeavor to use manifestos to garner publicity.
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