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Religions 2017, 8(4), 68;

“Our Country Is Destined to be the Great Nation of Futurity”: John L. O’Sullivan’s Manifest Destiny and Christian Nationalism, 1837–1846

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2001 W. Seminary Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76115, USA
Academic Editor: Mark Edwards
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2017 / Accepted: 14 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Nationalism in the United States)
Full-Text   |   PDF [235 KB, uploaded 17 April 2017]


As founding editor of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, John L. O’Sullivan (1813–1895) preached a particular form of Christian nationalism that centered on expansionist fever occurring during the 1830s and 1840s. O’Sullivan’s Christian nationalism was known as “Manifest Destiny”. He famously coined the term in 1845 while defending the right of the United States to annex the Republic of Texas. The central argument of this essay is that Manifest Destiny, as O’Sullivan articulated it in the pages of the Democratic Review, follows the contours of the innovative and heterodox political religion developed by Elie Kedourie and expounded upon by Anthony D. Smith. O’Sullivan’s Manifest Destiny was a conglomerated nationalistic paradigm consisting of elements from Protestant theology, Lyman Beecher’s vision for civilizing the West, and German idealism via George Bancroft’s use of historicism in his History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the American Continent. As a form of Christian nationalism located in the context of antebellum America, Manifest Destiny is helpful to historians as they trace both continuity and change over time in how Americans have self-identified in religious terms since their origin as a collection of colonial, and later independent, polities. View Full-Text
Keywords: Manifest Destiny; nationalism; national identity; antebellum America Manifest Destiny; nationalism; national identity; antebellum America
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wilsey, J.D. “Our Country Is Destined to be the Great Nation of Futurity”: John L. O’Sullivan’s Manifest Destiny and Christian Nationalism, 1837–1846. Religions 2017, 8, 68.

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