Space, Time, and Freedom: The Quest for Nationality and the Irrepressible Conflict, 1815-1861

By Major L. Wilson | Go to book overview

5
Manifest Destiny

From the nullification controversy to the outbreak of the Mexican War the initiative and shape to the national debate came from the ideology of Jacksonian Democracy. By the end of the 1830s the newly established Democratic Review gave systematic expression to this position. Taking as its motto, "The world is governed too much," the review pleaded for a larger freedom from the force of past prescriptions and from the coercion of present institutions. Through the workings of the "voluntary principle," it rather supposed, individual "floating atoms" would naturally create and sustain an order "far more perfect and harmonious" than any the "fostering hand" of a paternalistic government might ever devise. In his war on the Second Bank of the United States, President Jackson manifested this idea of larger liberty and generated, as well, a more pervasive spirit of hostility to all forms of government monopoly and privilege. Equality of opportunity for freemen to pursue their several interests in the present, it was claimed, would automatically promote the good of the whole nation and make more manifest its glorious destiny. Of special interest here was the impulse in the Jacksonian outlook to rapid expansion and, with it, the tendency in its spokesmen to make more explicit the idea of freedom as a function of open and unsettled spaces. The floor of the growing empire of freemen, the Democratic Review thus

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Space, Time, and Freedom: The Quest for Nationality and the Irrepressible Conflict, 1815-1861
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1- Liberty And Union 3
  • 2- The Missouri Controversy 22
  • 3- Time and The American System 49
  • 4- Nullification and The Emergence Of Jacksonian Democracy 73
  • 5- Manifest Destiny 94
  • 6- Free Soil and The Irrepressible Conflict 120
  • 7- The Crisis And Compromise of 1850 148
  • 8- Progress and The Irrepressible Conflict 178
  • 9- Seward and The Repressible Conflict 211
  • Notes 239
  • Index 301
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