Manifest destiny : マニフェスト・デスティニー

In the 19th century, manifest destiny was a widely held belief in the United States that its settlers were destined to expand across North America. There are three basic themes to manifest destiny:

  • The special virtues of the American people and their institutions
  • The mission of the United States to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America
  • An irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty

Historian Frederick Merk says this concept was born out of “a sense of mission to redeem the Old World by high example … generated by the potentialities of a new earth for building a new heaven”.

Historians have emphasized that “manifest destiny” was a contested concept—pre-civil war Democrats endorsed the idea but many prominent Americans (such as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and most Whigs) rejected it. Historian Daniel Walker Howe writes, “American imperialism did not represent an American consensus; it provoked bitter dissent within the national polity … Whigs saw America’s moral mission as one of democratic example rather than one of conquest.”

Newspaper editor John O’Sullivan is generally credited with coining the term manifest destiny in 1845 to describe the essence of this mindset, which was a rhetorical tone; however, the unsigned editorial titled “Annexation” in which it first appeared was arguably written by journalist and annexation advocate Jane Cazneau. The term was used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico and it was also used to divide half of Oregon with the United Kingdom. But manifest destiny always limped along because of its internal limitations and the issue of slavery, says Merk. It never became a national priority. By 1843 John Quincy Adams, originally a major supporter of the concept underlying manifest destiny, had changed his mind and repudiated expansionism because it meant the expansion of slavery in Texas.

Merk concluded:

From the outset Manifest Destiny—vast in program, in its sense of continentalism—was slight in support. It lacked national, sectional, or party following commensurate with its magnitude. The reason was it did not reflect the national spirit. The thesis that it embodied nationalism, found in much historical writing, is backed by little real supporting evidence.

マニフェスト・デスティニーとは、元々はアメリカ合衆国の西部開拓を正当化する標語であった。「明白なる使命」や「明白なる運命」、「明白なる大命」などと訳出される。「文明は、古代ギリシア・ローマからイギリスへ移動し、そして大西洋を渡ってアメリカ大陸へと移り、さらに西に向かいアジア大陸へと地球を一周する」という、いわゆる「文明の西漸説」に基づいたアメリカ的文明観である。

概要

1845年、ジョン・オサリヴァンが用いたのが初出である。この際は、合衆国のテキサス共和国の併合を支持する表現として用いられ、のちに合衆国の膨張を「文明化」・「天命」とみなしてインディアン虐殺、西部侵略を正当化する標語となっていった。19世紀末に「フロンティア」が事実上消滅すると、米西戦争米墨戦争米比戦争ハワイ諸島併合など、合衆国の帝国主義的な領土拡大や、覇権主義を正当化するための言葉となった。

イギリスの帝国主義政治家ジョゼフ・チェンバレンも「マニフェスト・デスティニー」の語を使用し、「アングロ・サクソン民族は最も植民地経営に適した民族であり、アフリカに文明をもたらす義務を負っている」と語っている。

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