- Politics and Social Issues
“Manifest Destiny”, an American movement, policy, action, or whatever one would wish to call it, was cheered with stars & stripes waving during its activity. Today however, it is ridiculed, demonized and called one of the United States' “dark” moments in its two century history. People protest the events of the period, books are filled with the age's “ignorance” & “horror”, and colleges host speeches about those supposedly unrepentant imperialistic times. And lastly, the few that call for a revival of that tyrannical policy now-a-days are called extremists, zealots and the like.
The term “Manifest Destiny” was coined by J. L. O'Sullivan in 1845. The term was located in a magazine article about “Annexation”; the magazine being the United States Magazine and Democratic Review. It was mainly used politically during President Polk's plans for the expansion of the American borders westward. However, the concept relates to all American growth “from sea to shinning sea.” Manifest Destiny is defined as the American belief that the United States (and so Americans) was destined to stretch from the Atlantic to Pacific across the North American continent. Events falling into the era of Manifest Destiny include American involvement in Texas' war for independence, the Mexican-American War, the Texas Annexation (1845), gaining of the Oregon Country (1846) and the Mexican Cession in 1846 of the to-be southwestern states.
Similar terms, such as American “Divine Destiny”, go back to 1839. However, the concept of American expansion dates back to before the War of 1812; 1811 to be exact. But it was not put into action until the war itself (of 1812) forced American strategy (and borders) to be tweaked.
To get it out of the way, this is an article favoring Manifest Destiny and if you are skeptical or flat-out against it, please bare with me and see my points.
The left / liberal end of the American mindset is usually the end bashing & badmouthing every aspect of this policy. That same end always (per-say) goes on about the “Greater Good”, such as the increasing of already hurting people's utility bills for the greater-good of the environment. However, weither it was a conscious factor or not, the concept of the greater-good goes hand-n-hand with the actions, events & consequences of the Manifest Destiny era.
One would wonder how I could dare say that the idea of the greater-good can be linked to Manifest Destiny which directly contributed to the slaughtering & relocation of the Native Americans. Well, first let me set the record straight.
During the War of 1812, many Ohio Valley & Southern Native American tribes sided with the British. These tribes took their stand in battles against American soldiers and launched devastating raiding parties into the United States. These raids against American lands & citizens continued after the war and the United States was forced to take the offensive against the tribes of Native Americans on their western borders. The expansion of the American boundaries created a buffer zone, where forts could be constructed between the states & the hostile tribes. (A similar event occurred when native tribes sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War.) I am in no way saying that the later relocation & massacre of natives throughout the continent was the natives' fault. The western wars against the continent's native population is indeed a horrible stain on American history.
So how is this the Greater Good?
Yes, many negative events (such as that holocaust of the original land owners) were immediately instigated by Manifest Destiny. However, Manifest Destiny made this country the nation stretching from ocean to ocean.
I always have to hold back my laughter when I see people bashing America's Manifest Destiny time-period. Manifest Destiny made America the mighty nation that lives today. If it wasn't for the western expansion (which caused major economic growth and allowed for military defense), America would never have won the Spanish-American War of 1898. Such protesters would not have the right to do such if it wasn't for the policy they are against. Do they think they could live in North Korea and protest their past without consequence? But this is besides the point here.
Manifest Destiny allowed the solidification of the United States of America and so the American way (democracy, freedom and the like) became concrete. Andrew Jackson & John Quincey Adams saw a need for American expansion for the survival of human freedom.
This policy of destiny, as admitted, did cause great harms to the Native Americans. However, it also brought education, food, medicine, housing, etc to the native peoples. Everyone envisions a teary-eyed Native American when they think of the Americanization of the tribes. But most do not know about the many natives, which included some chiefs, which were pro the westernization of their people, seeing the positives.
I am pro a revival of Manifest Destiny in its general form. The general form includes the Americanization of the Philippines & Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War. The revival would include our continued involvement in the Middle East. Protesters yell out “No Blood for Oil!”
First off, we did not go to war with Iraq for oil. And, to bluntly state, we do deserve more oil from the Middle East than we currently receive.
How would the world look if the United States wasn't around? Or if the US just closed itself in?
The United States gives more international support (aid) such as food, medicine, education, defensive equipment, scientific technology & cash than any other nation in the world by far. If the US suddenly stopped all foreign aid, there would be mass starvation, many outbreaks of disease, economic failures & military slaughters in developing countries. If America were to fall, many other nations would soon follow and, without exaggeration, a new Dark Age would occur.
America has saved more nations from violent annihilations than any other in human history. World War II would have been an obvious loss to the Allies if it weren't for America's military involvement. Hitler would have killed tens of millions of more Jews or possibly all, not to mention the loss of Democracy in Europe and the murder of many more millions of homosexuals, Russians, those with mental or physical handicaps, etc. Also, who would have ended the Liberian civil war and the Iraqi gassing of Kurds if not for the United States? People accuse, negatively, the United States of being the world's “police force.” Well, what would happen if that police-force took a vacation.
There is a reason even Republicans & conservatives were against US military involvement in Libya. The United States rid the Iraqi people of the tyrannical Saddam and, via Americanization, brought more schools, food, medicine, security & economy. Their oil fields are coming online and the US is seeing what of it? No blood for oil? Should the US loss its soldiers for others' freedom from oppression, and then also loss its economy and so its self because it cares about humanity in general? Should not the freed nations give something back? Should America commit suicide this way? America was welcomed into Iraq with American flags and yet the US is then told to shove off. If someone goes into debt to save their neighbor, should not that neighbor help their savior?
A revival of Manifest Destiny is a revival of Americanization, plus the getting of resources in return (and land for Military bases to protect the peoples' newly gained freedom). Americanization brings democracy, freedom, stability, scientific ability & economic growth to its recipients. This is seen in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Japan, Germany, Israel and already in the new Iraq & Afghanistan. We receive trade & resources from all but the last two. We should be getting oil from Iraq, we should be getting more from Saudi Arabia. This is not about Imperialism or Empire-Building or some American-owned one-world government. This is about America being the mightiest nation (with the just standards of giving international supports) which goes out of its way for other peoples.
China buys up America's current debts, weakening its independence. But wasn't it that same America which allowed China to remain independent via defeating the Japanese which were mining their nation to the bedrock?
The negative connotation linked to Manifest Destiny and so the negative connotation linked to any similar concept (such as Americanization) is preventing their usage today. That they are not being used has plunged the United States into economic crisis. When someone, or in this occasion some-nation, works –they get paid for it. General economic principles work on both small & large scales.
My last point is this: If a hospital is doing a great job for a region, do you protest & prevent its expansion?