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Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?"
11-30-2019, 01:59 PM
Post: #19
RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?"
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.
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RE: Did Lincoln believe in "Manifest Destiny?" - Wild Bill - 11-30-2019 01:59 PM

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