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Manifest Destiny - Research Paper Example

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Manifest Destiny

Native American tribes in the Southern colonies felt continued pressure from white expansionism, as whites continued to flood South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi in order to expand their highly lucrative commercial agriculture. With the founding of the United States in 1776, whites in North America began to develop a new sense of self and constructed a new identity that placed increasing emphasis on the superiority of whites over Native Americans. This developing sense of identity eventually coalesced in the ideology of Manifest Destiny, the belief that Americans had a divine directive and natural right to possess all land from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. In 1839, John L. Sullivan argued that America was to be the new temple of God on Earth, a Tabernacle with the soil for its floor and the skies themselves as its ceiling. American politicians and intellectuals used the language of Christianity and divine Providence to justify any actions that had to be taken in the name of American expansion throughout North America (Sullivan, 1968, p.19). Thomas Paine, one of America's Founding
right to aggressive nationalism was becoming inevitable. ...
right to aggressive nationalism was becoming inevitable. Billington and Ridge (1982), indicated that "the true story of the occupation of North America is the story of a conquest, not of an uncontested march westward of Anglo-American frontiersmen" (p.18). This paper aims to analyze the historical phenomenon of Manifest Destiny, transformation of its ideology, its justifications and significance.
MANIFEST IDENTITY AND PROVIDENCE
As the Americans began to extend their territorial holdings in North America, Americans began to search for a rhetoric of justification for the expansion. The American justification for expansion included: the special mission of Providence, faux scientific laws of race and national development, national right, social duty, national defense and the extension of freedom (Weinberg, 1935, p.2). Among these, the special mission of Providence, and a belief the God was leading the United States to claim more and more land played a particularly important role in the development of expansionist ideology. National mission means that a Higher Power has created a special "destiny higher than [the nation's] own security and well-being", and as such, mere economic or security issues cannot provide the only justification for claiming land on the continent (Rossiter, 1971, p.44). Not only were the Americans fulfilling a special mission from God, the Americans also believed they were worshiping God through their expansion. John L. Sullivan (1968) wrote in 1839, "The boundless future will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever ...Show more

Summary

that was both rich in resources and covered with millions of natives, whose culture and societal organization were completely alien to the Europeans. At first, the English and Native Americans were able to exist in a symbiotic relationship, but as the white population grew, relations between the natives and the settlers became increasingly strained…
Author : jward
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