What role does the growth of population play in O'Sullivan's ideas about "manifest destiny"? How does he explain Texas's break from Mexico? Why does he predict the eventual separation of California? How would you describe O'Sullivan's views of race? In what ways is "manifest destiny" for him tied up with his belief in the superiority of "Anglo-Saxon" peoples?

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In the 1845 essay "Annexation," John O'Sullivan coined the phrase "manifest destiny." He was referring to the belief that the United States had a divine mandate to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. At the time, he was specifically calling for the US to annex Texas from Mexico.

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In the 1845 essay "Annexation," John O'Sullivan coined the phrase "manifest destiny." He was referring to the belief that the United States had a divine mandate to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. At the time, he was specifically calling for the US to annex Texas from Mexico.

He cites demographics as the reason Texas broke from Mexico, namely that many white Anglo-Saxon Americans had moved into Texas, and they wanted to be part of America. He predicted that the same would happen in California.

He believed that the US had been chosen by God to spread republican democracy, and since the US was chosen by God, it was a superior country. And as we can see in "Annexation," what does O'Sullivan argue constitutes an American state? A large Anglo-Saxon population. So it's clear that he saw the Anglo-Saxons as a superior race fulfilling God's wishes by increasing their population and spreading democracy.

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In "Annexation," published in 1845, O'Sullivan essentially suggests that the United States has the right to Texas because it has been "peopled" by "an American population." This was by Mexico's own doing, according to O'Sullivan, as they invited American settlers when the region was under Mexican control. Once Texas won its independence, a development O'Sullivan sees as wholly justified, the right of the United States to the land became self-evident—being full of American people, it only made sense that it would become an American territory.

Significantly, he sees the same process at work in the Mexican territory of California. He observes that the "advance guard of the irresistible army of Anglo-Saxon emigration has begun to pour down upon it," and that it would only be a matter of time until this population trend brought California under American dominion. The sentence containing the famous phrase "manifest destiny" sums up O'Sullivan's view of the relationship between population and the right to territory in the West: it was, according to him, the "manifest destiny" of the United States "to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions."

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I assume that you are asking about O’Sullivan’s 1845 article “Annexation.”   I will answer with reference to that article.

For O’Sullivan, the idea of Manifest Destiny was inextricably tied to the idea that Anglo-Saxons were superior to other “races.”  When O’Sullivan is talking about how California will inevitably separate itself from Mexico, he calls Mexico a country that is “imbecile.”  He then goes on to contrast this with the Anglo-Saxons who were settling the American West and bringing with them

…schools and colleges, courts and representative halls, mills and meeting-houses.

In other words, Anglo-Saxons are superior enough that they bring with them the benefits of civilization where Mexico, with its population that is not Anglo-Saxon, is too “imbecile” to do so.

O’Sullivan says that California will separate from Mexico because Mexico has not been able to exert control over it or to put a population there.  By contrast, the United States has been able to put people there who are ready to populate and civilize California.  The same goes for Texas.  O’Sullivan argues that Texas was populated by Americans.  The Americans had the right to separate from Mexico because that country was trying to “enslave” them.

So, O’Sullivan thinks that Texas and California will naturally belong to the US because it is Americans who have settled them, with their superior civilization that comes along with being Anglo-Saxon.

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