Westward Expansion: Did Manifest Destiny Violate American Ideals?
Did Manifest Destiny Violate American Ideals?

In the 1800s, many Americans believed the United States was destined to reach from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This national mission also implied that Americans were superior to their neighbors who also controlled territory in North America. Did this belief in American superiority
contradict the spirit of equality important to so many Americans?

Public servant Albert Gallatin opposes Manifest Destiny:

At the age of 86, after a distinguished career in public service, Albert Gallatin became president of the New York Historical Society. The war against Mexico revived his interest in politics, and he wrote:

“It is said that the people of the United States have a hereditary superiority of race over the Mexicans, which gives them the right to subjugate and keep in bondage the inferior nation. . . .
Is it compatible with the principle of democracy, which rejects every hereditary claim of individuals, to admit a hereditary superiority of races? . . . Can you for a moment suppose that a very doubtful descent from men who lived 1,000 years ago has transmitted to you a superiority over your fellow men?
. . . At this time the claim is but a pretext for covering and justifying unjust usurpation and unbounded ambition. . . . Among ourselves the most ignorant, the most inferior, either in physical or mental faculties, is recognized as having equal rights, and he has an equal vote with anyone, however superior to him in all those respects. This is

1. What does Albert Gallatin think is the real motivation underlying
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Created: Apr 4, 2016

Updated: Feb 22, 2018


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