The Great Missionary
THE PEACE OF GHENT, WHICH OFFICIALLY RANG DOWN THE CURTAIN ON THE most doubtful military victory in American history, demonstrated to the world that the future of the United States as an independent nation was assured. More than that, it presaged the rise of a powerful nationalistic spirit which for a time eclipsed the older sectionalism of the East. The breeding ground of nationalism was in the West. It beckoned to all classes and conditions of men, from all states and countries, who believed in America, "the land of the free and the home of the brave." As Americans looked out upon a West which had been so wondrously nationalized through the Louisiana Purchase, they dreamed a dream. They saw that their "manifest destiny" was the conquest of the entire continent, that one day the standard of the Republic would fly over that gigantic sweep of territory which plunged westward to greet the ocean. The accession of Florida, Texas, Oregon, and California, was the dream translated into reality. It was perhaps the most optimistic period in our national life. The favorite theme of orators was the glorious future of the country.