Western Expansion, Manifest Destiny, and the Mexican-American War

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According to John L. O’Sullivan's idea of Manifest Destiny, what is the most important principle that guides America?

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O'Sullivan establishes and explores the concept of "manifest destiny" in two articles in the United States Democratic Review , one in 1839 and the other in 1845. In both instances, he argues that the United States, as a democratic nation, represents the future and that the Mexican government, as well as the monarchies of Europe, embodies the past. Indeed, his 1839 essay is entitled "The Great Nation of Futurity," and in it O'Sullivan claims that "we [the USA] are the nation of progress, of individual freedom, of universal enfranchisement." The most important principle guiding the United States, then, is democracy. But it should be noted that O'Sullivan views democracy as an exclusively white domain. He does not mean, when he claims that the United States is a nation of "universal enfranchisement," that the nation should be a place where all peoples should have political power irrespective of their race. The United States is a nation governed by white men, an "Anglo-Saxon" race that is...

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