Lincoln Discussion Symposium
Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - Printable Version

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RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - Mylye2222 - 11-26-2019 06:54 PM

I don't think either. His ambitious was the United States being a prosperous and the land of opportunity for all minkind, but he wasn't dreaming of conquer all the continent.

RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - Rogerm - 11-26-2019 09:29 PM

During Lincoln's one term in congress, he was an ardent opponent of President Polk's westward expansion policies. I think he would have felt ill at ease with the pretension of "Manifest Destiny."

RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - LincolnMan - 11-27-2019 07:11 PM

I agree. I have given this question a lot of thought since the thread was originally posted. My opinion has not changed.

RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - Wild Bill - 11-30-2019 01:59 PM

I, too, have given some thought on the question of Lincoln and manifest destiny. I think first we have to define manifest destiny. The usual definition goes something like this: manifest destiny was the ideology that the United States had a divine right to exploit the North American continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The spirit of America, Columbia, would advance west with the star and stripes in one hand and the Protestant Bible in the other.

It was quite gratifying. To oppose manifest democracy was to defy the Providence that deemed we should possess the whole continent to advance the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted by God to us though natural right. It was first postulated by newspaperman John O’Sullivan in the 1840s.

It was also a part of Jacksonian Democracy, but the opposition Whigs were not excluded except by themselves. They saw it as a cover for expanding slavery, often called the Slave Power Conspiracy, to rule the nation. So, Lincoln could be seen in this light. He saw God in a different guise, as opposing the expansion of human bondage.

But there was more. Lincoln’s mentor, Henry Clay, and even founding father Alexander Hamilton, saw the expansion as part of what came to be called the American System. And where Cay trod Lincoln followed, economically speaking. The American System looked forward to the expansion of American industrialism, primarily through a protective tariff. Being the agricultural part of America, the South opposed a tariff higher than a revenue basis to run the government because as an importer of finished goods it would raise cost of running plantations and farms. That is basic American history.

But what most historians leave out is the compulsory nature of this tariff and other parts of the American System like internal improvements and a national banking system. Matthew Cary, son of American economist Henry Carey (who developed the American system for Clay), revealed this in the 1830s, If the South would not go along with the American system, the North could use its superior economic power and increased population through immigration to force the South to knuckle under by imposing an invasion and blockade of the vulnerable Southern coast line. The was Gen. Winfield Scott’s Anaconda Plan hatched thirty years before Civil War.

Hence, it was imperative that the South sacrifice these import costs as her contribution to the development of the United States or face future conquest. Lincoln wanted a West free of slavery for the common white man (like he had been as a boy), and opposed expansion so long as slavery was allowed in the new territories. Conquest of the seceded South, and its agreeing to the industrial American future through the Compromise of 1877 and Henry Grady's institution of the New South at the Atlanta Convention in 1895 was manifest destiny, as was the transcontinental railroad. I conclude that Lincoln believed in America's pretension of manifest destiny and was not ill at ease about it at all once the slavery question had been solved.

RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - LincolnMan - 12-01-2019 08:12 AM

Good argument! More food for thought.

RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - Wild Bill - 12-01-2019 02:54 PM

We all have forgotten the Homestead Act to guarantee that manifest destiny would be permanent

RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - L Verge - 12-01-2019 04:38 PM

Thank you, Wild Bill, for reminding us of the tangible things that were the backbone of the intangible phrase of Manifest Destiny.

RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - Mylye2222 - 12-01-2019 06:37 PM

Thanks Will Bill.
Well so he partially endorsed Manifest Destiny in the territories of the States. But what could he do? Sink the merchant ships full of immigrants before they reach the East Cost ports,? Yes, MD was an awful tragedy for the Natives. Yet all Natives tribes were not the now idolized "only victims" they are in our global repentant Western Society. Take a modern parallel. Imagine in every Western Europe country, people forming gangs, going to the majority African /North African /Eastern districts in their cities, storming families flats, abducting and raping women and children, kill men and so on. What would that kind of people called? Not "resistance", but outright faschism and genocidals. Every nation and population has its strengths and its sins. Not only the whites. Look at how China is now invading Africa. Strangely, you won't hear "modern progressives" whining about. They have the blessings of not being white.
So yes, maybe he did believe in MD, but partially. He was not harboring, unlike the Democrats, the dream of invading all the continent. Otherwise he would not have take the political risk to oppose Mexican war.