THAT DEEP-SEATED CONVICTION LONG CHERISHED BY AMERICANS THAT THEIR nation had been divinely chosen for world mission was nurtured and sustained through the fires of civil conflict and given a new baptism of power during the subsequent era of geographical expansion and industrial progress. Many forces combined to magnify the role of Manifest Destiny in the American consciousness and to encourage popular demand for expansion. In the realm of science and philosophy, Darwinism seemed to support expansion through the survival of the fittest doctrine, which was readily translated by Americans into the thought that by natural selection the United States had become a superior nation destined to rule the weaker peoples of the world. At the same time, idealistic philosophies were emphasizing man's natural ability and interpreting history in terms of progress, a circumstance which had profound implications for American expansionists. Geographical expansion also seemed justified on the basis that Americans, having made optimum use of the land and resources in the territorial United States, should make similarly good use of other dominions for the benefit of mankind. In a period when the nations
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Publication information: Book title: History of Religion in the United States. Contributors: Clifton E. Olmstead - Author. Publisher: Prentice-Hall. Place of publication: Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Publication year: 1960. Page number: 495.
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