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Manifest Destiny. “Our manifest destiny is to overspread the continent” John L. O’Sullivan, Democratic Review , July 1845. Essential element of the concept is a sense of national heritage that couples the late 19th Century concept of survival of the fittest with a firm belief that

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“Our manifest destiny is to overspread the continent”

John L. O’Sullivan, Democratic Review, July 1845

Essential element of the concept is a sense of

national heritage that couples the late 19th Century

concept of survival of the fittest with a firm belief that

a particular nation has been selected as

the representative of the fittest

“This great pressure of a people moving always to

new frontiers in search of new lands, new power,

the full freedom of a virgin world, has ruled our course

and formed our policies like a Fate”

Woodrow Wilson, Atlantic Monthly, 1902



Market Town

City State





Natural Right

Geographical Predestination

The Destined Use of the Soil

Extension of the Area of Freedom

The True Title

The Mission of Regeneration

Political Gravitation

Inevitable Destiny

The White Man’s Burden

Self Defense

World Leadership


“By the law of God and Nature, Americans are entitled

to all the rights of their fellow subjects in Great Britain, not excluding consent to taxation”

James Otis

“The Supreme Being gave existence to man, together with

the means of preserving and beautifying that existence.

… and invested him with an inviolate right to

personal liberty and personal safety.

Alexander Hamilton

“”The cause of Liberty must be under the protection

of Heaven because the Creator surely wills the

happiness of his creatures.”

Richard Henry Lee


“It is the view of Heaven that the two countries

should be sundered forever.”

John Adams, 1776

“The unanimous voice of the Continent is that

Canada must be ours; Quebec must be taken.”

John Adams, 1776

“So long as Great Britain shall have Canada, Nova Scotia

and the Floridas, or any of them, so long will

Great Britain be the enemy of the United States,

let her disguise it as much as she will.”

John Adams, 1778


“It belongs of right to the United States to regulate the

future destiny of North America. The country is ours;

ours is the right to its rivers and to all the sources

of future opulence, power and happiness;

… and we shall be the scorn and derision of the world

if we suffer them to be wrested from us

by the intrigues of France.”

New York Evening Post editorial, 1803


“The waters of the Saint Lawrence and the Mississippi

interlock in a number of places, and the great

Disposer of Human Events intended those two rivers

should belong to the same people.”

Representative Johnson, 1812

“… the Author of Nature has marked our limits in the south,

by the Gulf of Mexico; and on the north, by

the regions of eternal frost.”

Representative Harper, 1812


“The Father of the Universe … has given natural boundaries

to every continent and kingdom - permanent, physical,

imperishable barriers, to every nation, to shield it

from invasion. … The Great Engineer of the Universe

has fixed the natural limits of our country, and man

cannot change them; that at least is above the treaty making power.

Representative Trimble, 1820

“The Floridas may be considered as naturally belonging

to the United States - as rightfully to be possessed

by the power holding the adjacent countries of Georgia,

Alabama and Mississippi, for they are

without value to any other.”

Niles Register editorial, 1820


“These islands are natural appendages to the

North American continent; and one of them, Cuba,

almost in sight of our shores, … has become an object of transcendent importance to the political and

commercial interests of our Union.”

John Quincy Adams, 1823

“On this side of the Rio Grande, the country is seasonable,

fertile and every way desirable to the people of

the United States. On the other side the lands are

unproductive, crops cannot be matured without irrigation;

in short they are entirely calculated for a lazy, pastoral,

mining people like the Mexicans.”

Nashville Republican editorial, 1829


“That which lies common and has never been replenished

or subdued is free to all that will possess and improve it …

And for the Natives of New England they enclose no land,

neither have any settled habitation nor any tame cattle to

improve the land by. So, if we leave them sufficient for

their use, we can lawfully take the rest, there being

more than enough for them and us.”

John Winthrop, 1650

“The Great Spirit made us all - he made my skin red, and yours white; he placed us on this earth and intended that we should live differently from each other.”

Pawnee Chief to James Monroe, 1823,


“Is one of the fairest portions of the globe to remain in

a state of nature, the haunt of a few wretched savages,

when it seems destined by the Creator to give support to

a large population and to the seat of civilization, or science,

and of true religion?”

Governor Harrison, Indiana Territory, 1812

“Treaties were expedients by which ignorant, intractable

and savage people were induced without bloodshed to yield up

what civilized people had a right to possess by virtue of that command of the Creator delivered to man upon his formation

- be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it.

Governor Gilmore (Georgia), 1830


“And if it were possible to perpetuate the race of Indians, what would be the consequences? Why, that a hundred or a thousand fold the number of white men would not be born, because the Indians would roam over and possess, without enjoying, the land which must afford the future whites subsistence.”

Representative Wilde (Georgia), 1830

“There can be no doubt … that the Creator intended

the earth should be reclaimed from a state of nature

and cultivated; that the human race should spread over it,

procuring from it the means of comfortable subsistence,

and of increase and improvement.”

Lew Cass, North American Review, 1830


“This right of use can only be construed to mean, what

in all the treaties it did mean, the right of use for hunting.

When, therefore, the United States, by changing the mode

of life of the aboriginals upon the soil of Georgia … and gave

every encouragement to fixed habits of agriculture,

they violated the treaties in their letter and spirit, and

did wrong to Georgia.”

Governor Troup (Georgia), 1830


“To extend our population we require the possession of Oregon.

I have before remarked that personal liberty is incompatible

with a crowded population.”

Representative Duncan, 1845

“Land enough … land enough! Make way for the young

American Buffalo - he has not yet got land enough …

We will give him Oregon for his summer shade and the

region of Texas as his winter pasture.

Major Davezac (New Jersey) 1844


“America should redeem from unhallowed hands a land, above all others favored of heaven, and hold it for the use of a people who know how to obey heaven’s behests.”

Hartford Times editorial, 1845

“This war may result in great good to the world

- to this country - to Mexico herself - to the cause of learning,

good government and religion.”

New Englander editorial, 1847

“The universal Yankee nation can regenerate and disenthrall

all people of Mexico … It is part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful country and enable its inhabitants to appreciate

some of the many advantages and blessings they enjoy

New York Herald editorial, 1847


“If it remains in Mexican possession, it will be the same

one hundred years from today as it is today, a dreary,

barren waste; whereas American money, American spirit,

American enterprise can make it into gardens and farms

and a blessing to civilization.

Senator Ashhurst, 1919

“This is now the United States - that colossus of power,

that colossus of liberty, that colossus of the spirit of nations

… He who is strong, who feels coursing in his veins

the blood of maturity and vigor, needs action

and must have action. It is the very necessity

and condition of existence.

Attorney General Caleb Cushing, 1853

“Our propensities as Saxons, our vanity as Americans,

our pride as a great and progressing nation, our love

of dominion, our lust of power, our self-glorification,

our notions of what a great thing in diameter our country

ought to be” justifies the acquisition of Alaska.

Representative Shellabarger, 1868

“God Almighty, who rules the universe, will give England

no peace, until she lets the people of Ireland go; and

the natural affinity of Ireland is with the United States.

Representative Robinson, 1869

“You must conduct your government in a manner recognized

as constitutional under Anglo-Saxon theories of

political science. Whether you like these theories or not,

we believe them to be the best for you and it is our duty

to make you follow them.

H.W. Dodds, The United States and Nicaragua, 1927

“The American Republic is a part of the movement of a race,

- the most masterful race of history - and race movements

are not to be stayed by the hand of man.

They are mighty answers to diving commands.”

Senator Beveridge, 1900