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Document #2

Editor of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, John L. O'Sullivan, became associated with the term Manifest Destiny. He would become a spokesperson for the idea that Americans were destined to spread over and possess the lands that lie between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. In his July-August 1845 Magazine he pleads for the annexation of Texas and predicts that California too will eventually become part of the Union.
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.... Texas has been absorbed into the Union in the inevitable fulfillment of the general law which is rolling our population westward; . . . too evident to leave us in doubt of the manifest design of Providence in regard to the occupation of this continent. It was disintegrated from Mexico in the natural course of events, by a process perfectly legitimate on its own part, blameless on ours; and in which all the censures due to wrong, perfidy and folly, rest on Mexico alone.... California will, probably, next fall way from the loose adhesion.... Already the advance guard of the irresistible army of Anglo-Saxon emigration has begun to pour down upon it, armed with the plough and the rifle, and marking its trail with schools and colleges, courts and representative halls, mills and meeting-houses. A population will soon be in actual occupation of California, over which it will be idle for Mexico to dream of dominion. They will necessarily become independent. All this without agency of our government, without responsibility of our people—in the natural flow of events, the spontaneous working of principles, . . . Their right to independence will be the natural right of self-government belonging to any community strong enough to maintain it....

1. What was the controversy over the annexation of Texas?
2. How would you answer O'Sullivan's claim that the cause of Texas' independence was "blameless on ours; and in which all the censures due to wrong, perfidy and folly, rest on Mexico alone . . . ?"
3. Compare how O'Sullivan describes the Mexican government and the Anglo-Saxon Race. How do you react to those descriptions?
4. Do you agree that the right to self-government belongs "to any community strong enough to maintain it?" Is political independence or conquest merely "survival of the fittest" or strongest?


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