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Manifest Destiny: A Study of Nationalist Expansionism in American History Hardcover – June, 1976

ISBN-13: 978-0404147068 ISBN-10: 0404147062 Edition: 1st AMS ed

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Hardcover, June, 1976
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 559 pages
  • Publisher: Ams Pr Inc; 1st AMS ed edition (June 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0404147062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0404147068
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,384,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Doepke on October 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In this classic work, the author traces American expansionism back to the Louisiana Purchase of 1804. The notion of Manifest Destiny itself dates from the 1840's and America's designs on Mexico and its territories. Essentially, Manifest Destiny expresses a doctrine of territorial expansion that is predetermined by some fateful American attribute of one kind or another. Weinberg's book is particularly valuable for both its historical account and its analytic understanding of America's missionary zeal.
Early on, expansionists saw the Hand of God behind America's civilizing mission. Other rationales emerged over the decades, including extension of political liberties to benighted peoples and/or making use of unused land. In Weinberg's view, the Founding Fathers tended to be anti-expansionist, believing that the natural lights of liberty would transmit infectiously, producing liberation movements in neighboring lands. Later on, such optimism receded, leaving a surrounding vacuum for the young Republic to fill which it often did with a vengeance.
As Weinberg points out, anti-expansionist sentiments have historically competed with their opposite, making unabashed expansion difficult to implement as national policy. Moreover, the desirability of expansion beyond culturally similar lands into foreign tongues and alien ways, such as Mexico's, has caused historical rifts within the expansionist camp, which by no means speaks with a single voice.
Writing in the 1920's and under the influence of the anti-expansionist President Wilson, Weinberg appears to believe expansionist designs along with Manifest Destiny have passed from the American scene. Presumably he would have found a home in the similarly deluded Kennedy administration.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Greer on February 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
They say that great deeds are performed on the backs of the giants who went before. In few places is this more true than in history; few are the historians who have not built their works on the surer foundations of the historical giants who have gone before.

In the study of the causes of America's Western expansion, Albert Weinberg's MANIFEST DESTINY: A STUDY OF NATIONALIST EXPANSION IN AMERICAN HISTORY is the giant all the other works are built upon. Be they written to attack the ideas first presented inside this book or be they dropping a citation this book's way every page, all the books written on Manifest Destiny find their source in Weinberg's MANIFEST DESTINY. If you were to read only one book on the topic, this book is it.

Weinberg's book is primarily a history of the ideology that prompted and justified American expansion. While others have claimed that American expansionism was driven by economic or geopolitical concerns, Weinberg painstakingly connects the dots between American beliefs regarding democratic governance, millennialism, race theory, and international politics and actual government policy to paint a picture more complex and believable than the realist and economic determinist tracks would have you believe. The difficulty of such an endeavor is made all the greater by the scope of Weinberg's book, which starts with the expulsion of Seminoles and Cherokee and ends with the American acquisition of the Philippines. It is an ambitious undertaking, but one well performed nonetheless. Particularly valuable were the chapters detailing American expansionism in the 1840s, which, being the time when ideology and policy were most closely intertwined, lends itself the best to Weinberg's approach.
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