By Catherine Ulrich Brakefield
Americans have never been the type of people to sit back and allow a political party or a government to dictate their future. As proven throughout the course of history, the United States of America heeded the wishes of their countrymen.
Neither O'Sullivan nor his readers considered this a "no" vote. And in 1845 Texas became the twenty-eighth state of the Union. O'Sullivan's words expressed the voice of Americans everywhere as he writes in the American Yawp Reader:
"Texas is now ours…Her star and her stripe may already be said to have taken their place in the glorious blazon of our common nationality, and the sweep of our eagle’s wing already includes within its circuit the wide extent of her fair and fertile land. She is no longer to us a mere geographical space—a certain combination of coast, plain, mountain, valley, forest and stream. She is no longer to us a mere country on the map. She comes within the dear and sacred designation of Our Country…other nations have undertaken to intrude themselves…in a spirit of hostile interference against us, for the avowed object of thwarting our policy and hampering our power, limiting our greatness and checking the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence." John L. O'Sullivan On the Manifest Destiny, 1845
Had O'Sullivan embodied what those first Puritans venturing to the pagan shorelines of America asserted? John Winthrop, along with his fellow Puritans, believed that their mission was sent to them by God. “A city upon a hill”, a nation where the Word of God would be the focal point and people would live by Christian principles.
During the Antebellum period of the 1800s the spark of the Second Great Awakening kindled the sleeping evangelists with a romantic zealousness and a sense of a divine mission to travel to the new lands of the West. The American Board of Commissioner for Foreign Missions noted in their 1827 annual report, "The tide of emigration is rolling westward so rapidly that it must speedily surmount every barrier, till it reaches every habitable part of this continent."
Christian missionary organizations sprang up. But it was a writer, not a missionary, that coined the phrase that inspired U.S. President James K. Polk who believed the United States had a “manifest destiny” to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean.
Many believed there is a higher power that led fearless and faithful countrymen like Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, and Samuel Houston. Those brave frontiersmen at the Alamo stared at death—and envisioned a victory. Only a higher power could have known this truth—that it would be the plight of the innumerable masses traveling through the generations who would traverse in the footsteps of these brave countrymen.
John L. O'Sullivan puts pen in hand and writes, "The far-reaching, the boundless future will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High—the Sacred and the True. Its floor shall be a hemisphere—its roof the firmament of the star-studded heavens, and its congregation an Union of many Republics, comprising hundreds of happy millions, calling, owning no man master, but governed by God's natural and moral law of equality, the law of brotherhood—of 'peace and good will amongst men.'
"This is our high destiny, and in nature's eternal, inevitable decree of cause and effect we must accomplish it. All this will be our future history, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man—the immutable truth and beneficence of God. For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field. Who, then, can doubt that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity?" John L. O'Sullivan on Manifest Destiny, 1839
From the Second Great Awakening and the western expansion to the Civil War. From the Gibson Era and the Roughriders to the Spanish-American War. From World War I and the Great Depression to the atomic age of World War II. From the Cold War and the Korean War to the rice patties of Vietnam. Like those early settlers and the frontiersmen at the Alamo, Americans across the span of years fought, sacrificed, and believed in God's life-giving light of truth.
John Winthrop's city upon a hill still glows brightly, granting to immigrants a pathway of hope. O'Sullivan’s famous statement continues to this day; it is America's " fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence."
May your Memorial Day be made more memorable by cherishing what those who went before us held dear to their hearts. Let's make our era—America's greatest era! Let O'Sullivan's writings ring true for us today, "dedicated to the worship of the Most High God." This is our legacy to uphold, yes—the moral dignity and salvation of man through our Savior, Jesus Christ. God Bless.
Wilted Dandelions: The Second Great Awakening has stirred her soul…
Spinster Rachael Rothburn is eager to leave her life of luxury in Boston to share the gospel with Native Americans in the west. The only problem is the missionary alliance won’t let her go unless she’s married. When Dr. Jonathan Wheaton, another missionary hopeful, learns about the restrictions, he is desperate to find a wife. He offers Rachael a marriage of convenience and she agrees. The pair sets off for Oregon to share Jesus with the natives, but in the process, they discover God doesn’t create coincidences—He designs possibilities.
“…one gripping, compelling read. Wilted Dandelions by Ms. Brakefield had me eagerly turning pages and sighing over the love story premise as well as taking comfort in the spiritual message.” ES
An award-winning author, Catherine's inspirational historical romances include Wilted Dandelions, her faith-based Destiny series Swept into Destiny, Destiny’s Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz with Destiny. She lives with her husband of 50 years and their Arabian horses in Addison Township, Michigan.
For more information: See catherineulrichbrakefield.com
A History of the United States Second Edition Making America, Berkin, Miller, Cherny, Gormly, Second Edition Volume 1: To 1877 Houghton Mifflin Company Pg. 376 The Rise of Manifest Destiny