U.s. News And Democratic Review "Manifest Destiny"

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"Manifest Destiny"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In 1837, John O'Sullivan and S. D. Langtree founded in Washington the U.S. News and Democratic Review (better known as the Democratic Review) as a mouthpiece for nationalism. They predicted the expansion of the United States to include Mexico and Cuba. In 1841, O'Sullivan bought out his partner and moved the publication to New York. In a six-page patriotic article, "Annexation," the editor opened the seventeenth volume, with an appeal to his countrymen to forget the dissention that discussions of the annexation of Texas had caused between friends and foes of slavery. Now that the Texas Congress and Convention had accepted the proffered invitation by the United States to join the Union, annexation had come about. "Her star and her stripe may already be said to have taken their place in the glorious blazon of our common nationality. She comes within the dear and sacred designation of Our Country." So let opposition cease. If there must be party differences, let them grow out of other problems. O'Sullivan reminds his readers that the move was not one of spoliation or revenge against Mexico. Nor was it a military conquest or territorial aggrandizement at the expense of justice. Objections by England or France are to be disregarded. Because of the acts and faults of Mexico. Texas had become free, and by the great divine plan was fated to become part of the United States. From early times, people believed that God or Providence looked after the development of nations. The British sovereigns were such "by the grace of God," and during the Revolution, countless divines in the Colonies proclaimed Americans to be God's chosen people. It was the fate or destiny of a nation to achieve whatever success came to it. So Lowell could write of "the destiny of the free republics of America," and Churchill could extend the idea to "the destiny of mankind," controlled by something beyond space and time. Even the homespun philosopher "Josh Billings" (1818–1885) wrote an entire article on "Manifest Destiny," which he defined as "the science ov going tew bust or enny other place before yer get there." O'Sullivan saw the need for the United States to make space "for the two hundred and fifty or three hundred millions–and American millions–destined to gather beneath the flutter of the stars and stripes, in the fast hastening year of the Lord 1945." O'Sullivan was somewhat optimistic about the growth of his country in the course of a century, but he did foresee its "manifest destiny," and was the first to use the phrase.

Were other reasons wanting, in favor of now elevating this question of the reception of Texas into the Union, out of the lower region of our past party dissentions, up to its proper level of a high and broad nationality, it surely is to be found, found abundantly, in the manner in which other nations have undertaken to intrude themselves into it, between us and the proper parties to the case, in a spirit of hostile interference against us, for the avowed object of thwarting our policy and hampering our power, limiting our greatness and checking the fulfilment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.