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American History - Assignment Example

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One was that she was a product of colonization by various powerful nations of the time. In other words, the country did not have a rich legacy like the Romans, Italians, the Aryans or the French. The second more powerful…
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Manifest destiny in American history The United s is a unique country in several respects. One was that she was a product of colonization by various powerful nations of the time. In other words, the country did not have a rich legacy like the Romans, Italians, the Aryans or the French. The second more powerful factor was the she was born out of the quest for freedom by the people who occupied the land mass initially to escape from oppression and lack of opportunities in their native lands. The Boston Tea party, often portrayed as a revolt against taxation by Great Britain is in fact a fight for freedom rather than as a protest. The subsequent American Revolution saw the emergence of the new and proud country, confident of carving an area for themselves, which eventually resulted in the formation of the United States of America. This rightful fight against oppression and the subsequent and successful expansion across geographical areas in North America became ordained as a part of ‘manifest destiny’ was first coined by journalist John O’Sullivan in 1839. According to him, “It is so destined, because the principle upon which a nation is organized fixes its destiny, and that of equality is perfect, is universal. It presides in all the operations of the physical world, and it is also the conscious law of the soul -- the self-evident dictates of morality, which accurately defines the duty of man to man, and consequently mans rights as man” (O’Sullivan). Sullivan’s words actually provided a justification and even motivation for the expansion based on principles of ‘duty of man to man’ that it sort of became a divine right to encroach upon and conquer areas that did not adhere to this principle. In the words, it formed the right to take control of any territory and allow people who believed in freedom to populace it. But, from the words of Owsley and Smith, this divine right had degraded to the extent of ‘might is right’ as seen in subsequent events. According to the authors, “the natural right of expansion, however, unquestionably lay in the power to conquer. What ultimately made expansion not only possible but apparently inevitable was not some transcendent destiny but rather the absence of a powerful neighbor to check its progress” (Owsley and Smith, 1997, p.10). It is true that the United States has become a powerful and unified entity as a nation due to this concept. The failure of Soviet Union as a unified nation, and the embracing by China, capitalistic principles, have proved that the policy of freedom of individuals to be free from state control as postulated by the founding fathers have been correct. The citizens (even immigrants) have been proud of the country as the land of opportunity, equality, and freedom. The concept of manifest destiny in the United States, even though not understood by many of its citizens in its correct sense, has resulted in a unification not seen much in the modern world. But unfettered or uncontrolled concepts can result in degradation of values. The history of the blacks in the country, the subsequent Civil War, and the relatively successful resistance movement under Martin Luther King Jr has shown that the presence of a ‘powerful neighbor’ is necessary to stop degradation of values. Subsequent protests against the Vietnam War and recently the protests against the war in Iraq have proved that the concept of manifest destiny can be a corrupting factor, especially for governments.
The United States in that sense is still under formation. The concept of allowing diverse cultures and religions to come into the country and grow is an offshoot of the original ‘manifest destiny’ of freedom and equality. In conclusion, it can be said that the concept of manifest destiny is much more of a uniting factor rather than a dividing one. There is no other force that can unite people when value systems as governed by religious and impartial social parameters are pursued. There is no denying the fact that race superiority coupled with lack of opportunity for the colonized and original inhabitants of the society does exist. But the concept of ‘manifest destiny’ as coined by O’Sullivan is still powerful. What is to be noted is that many nations and civilizations had grown and thrived on this concept. The United States had been formed out of destiny and can still grow as a result of it. Powerful and sincere opposition should exist in order to see that it does not grow and become a menace to the other nations and civilizations of the world. Manifest destiny does not mean arrogance, but pursuit of a lofty ideal that is based on freedom and equality.
References
OSullivav, John L. “Manifest Destiny.” Manifest Destiny . 31 Jul 2009 .
Owsley, Frank Lawrence, and Gene A. Smith. Filibusters and expansionists. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997.   Read More
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