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Manifest Destiny

America is a vast country covering thousands of square miles of land that traverses tremendously diverse climate and landscape.  From high and majestic mountains, to wide deserts to vast fruitful plains that seem to go on forever, the sheer size of the physical landscape of America is breath taking.

Obviously, this was not always the case.  When those earliest settlers landed on the east coast and carved out their stark settlements, they had no idea of huge expanse of land that lay to the west.  It took the bold explorations of surveyors such and Lewis and Clark to report back how stunningly huge the amount of physical space that was available for America to inhabit.

At first, the very idea of becoming a nation was seemingly impossible for the early settlers to grasp.  They came here to escape persecution, tyranny or to make a new home for their families.  If they could have looked a few hundred years down the line into the future and seen the powerhouse of a nation that would grow up from their work in those early years, they would have been stunned that this country grew to be such a world force.  So the earliest challenges of settlers and early leaders of the citizens of the young America was to grasp the scope of what they were about to set about to achieve.

But grasp that scope they did.  It seemed that the physical majesty of what was to become the nation of America inspired a concept that was just as grand as the land itself and that was the concept of Manifest Destiny.  Manifest destiny was the force that drove those settlers and explorers to drive their wagon trains across sometimes impossible terrain through difficult weather conditions and facing many dangers from animals and Native Americans alike to build a nation that spanned form the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

This was the dream of the early settlers of this country.  They did not just see a new nation but one of importance, of an almost holy calling to become a virtual utopia of democracy and opportunity.  And part of that utopian vision was the idea of a nation that spanned ocean to ocean and from Mexico to the Canadian border as well. 

When you think about it, its phenomenal that a people who did not have space photographs of a landscape or high speed travel such as is common today to get a vision of a unified nation of such vast size and scope.  But it was more than just physical size that spoke to the hearts and souls of those early Americans.  Manifest Destiny spoke to a vision of greatness for America that was birthed in the hearts of even these early citizens. 

The size of the country was to be a reflection of the majesty of the human spirit and the magnificence of the American experiment to build a nation built on freedom, the will of the people and on democracy and opportunity.  Today such concepts seem ordinary and for that we can thank the early founders of this country for catching that dream together and making it a reality.

Many have criticized Manifest Destiny as greed or empire building.  And to be sure, mistakes were made and many people died or had their individual destinies hurt in the wholesale rush to the west that America experienced in its early decades.  But what is not diminished is that sense of calling and that sense that America was put here for something great.  That calling lives still in the hearts of all true Americans as we find out how we too can help our country fulfill its Manifest Destiny to be a voice for freedom and liberty in the world.  Let’s hope Americans never loose their sense of calling and destiny.  Because if that dies away, something holy and magnificent will die with it.
The Americans : Fifty Talks on Our Life and Times by Alistair Cooke (1979 Hardcover).— ₹513.52 (Save 80%!)
Item specifics Condition: Very Good: A book that does not look new and has been read but is in excellent condition. No obvious damage. ISBN-10: 0394503643 ISBN-13: 9780394503646 Language: English Subject: Social Sciences Author: Alistair Cooke Topic: Politics Format: Book, Trade Hardcover Country/Region of Manufacture: United...

The Americans : Fifty Talks on Our Life and Times by Alistair Cooke (1979 Hardcover).

Item specifics Condition: Very Good: A book that does not look new and has been read but is in excellent condition. No obvious damage. ISBN-10: 0394503643 ISBN-13: 9780394503646 Language: English Subject: Social Sciences Author: Alistair Cooke Topic: Politics Format: Book, Trade Hardcover Country/Region of Manufacture: United States Publication Year: 1979 Key Details Author Alistair Cooke Format Hardcover Publication Date 1979-10-12 Language English Publisher Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group Dimensions Weight 23.8 Oz Target Audience Group Trade Classification Method LCCN 79-002218 When Alistair Cooke died at age 95 he was working on his latest Letter from America, a BBC radio series that started in 1946, and followed on from his weekly broadcasts from America during the war. This book of selections covers the decade 1969-79. Its content relates largely but not wholly to American politics, and predictably the latter phases of the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal are covered in a number of the items given here. The words that characterise Cooke's approach are 'civilised' and 'urbane'. He was an Englishman born in Manchester who took up residence in New York in 1937. He was Cambridge-educated and at one time president of the Dramatic Society there, in which position he had the dubious distinction of turning down James Mason at an audition. There is not much in this book about the theatre other than one piece about a visit by president Carter to the opera and a particularly sensitive and appreciative piece about Stephen Sondheim. There were so many references in his broadcasts to his sporting passion of golf that I expected to find a certain amount about it here just on a statistical basis, and so it turns out, but a broadcaster of his skill and taste knows better than to be any club-house bore on air. He was clearly a lover of music, and besides the pieces about Sondheim and Jimmy-at-the-opera I was pleased and relieved to find that the broadcast entitled 'The Duke' related to Duke Ellington and not to John Wayne. There is an affectionate and touching item about Christmas with his family in the snowdrifts of Vermont, there is an ironic and humorous piece on public attitudes to health generally and smoking on particular in which he reads the future wrongly as things have turned out, there is a very amusing one on the geological fault-lines in southern California and the religious prophets of doom, and there are a couple of others specifically about life at the far end of Long Island. Inevitably I suppose, some of the political reportage is much what one would expect from a commentator in one of the weeklies, but there are also thoughtful and informative obituaries on Earl Warren and Dean Acheson. Perhaps nobody ever personified better than Cooke did the BBC's motto 'Nation shall speak unto nation'. Like any of us, he is the product of his background and personal circumstances. He was a comfortably-off New Yorker, he knew who he was and talked like who he was, not like someone from the Bronx or Malibu or Newport, Rhode Island. He speaks the language of common sense and rationality, and he takes no particular political stance, not even one of studied impartiality. He has an obvious affection for and fascination with America, as I do myself, but he is no propagandist or publicist. When his series started as a 13-week trial and then lasted 58 years he had been given only a rough remit and job-description by the BBC. He defined his job for himself, and defined it brilliantly. He was talking to the whole world, not just to England, and he was speaking for and as himself. Speaking for and as myself, it was not just that I wanted to hear about America, I wanted to hear it specifically from Alistair Cooke. I felt that way about his broadcasts as a child, and I felt that way about them to the end, in my own seventh decade and his tenth. His use of English is polished and relaxed, with a love of the language that shows through in some gentle and elegant mockery of certain up-to-date usages. I find more Cambridge than Harvard in it, just as I found his pleasant speaking voice basically English with an east coast overlay. He was a reporter and columnist by trade, not a pundit or analyst, and it could be that he was just a touch too rational to appreciate fully the extent to which others are nothing of the sort and have no wish to be. Nature gave him a fine long innings, the powers that be had the good sense not to interrupt or obstruct it, and I have been one of the many privileged to have enjoyed it.
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Manifest Destiny


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