What connection does John O’Sullivan make between manifest destiny and the idea of American freedom?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John O'Sullivan, writing in 1839, made a strong correlation between American exceptionalism, freedom, and manifest destiny. In other words, he believes that America's love of liberty makes it unique and destined to do great things on the continent. He cites the nation's founding document to support his claim:

Declaration of National Independence being entirely based on the great principle of human equality, these facts demonstrate at once our disconnected position as regards any other nation; that we have, in reality, but little connection with the past history of any of them, and still less with all antiquity,.....

O'Sullivan also believes that a country's destiny is determined by the level of freedoms that it allows its citizens. In making the earlier case that the United States is the leader in civil liberties, this passage assures the reader that the United States has a positive future.

It is so destined, because the principle upon which a nation is organized fixes its destiny, and that of equality is perfect, is universal........its greatness, its duration, were always proportionate to the democratic equality in its system of government. . .

He finally connects his argument that the United States is destined to dominate the continent because of the unbridled freedoms that are granted to its citizens:

America is destined for better deeds. It is our unparalleled glory that we have no reminiscences of battle fields, but in defence of humanity, of the oppressed of all nations, of the rights of conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement.

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