Vocabulary from "John L. O'Sullivan on 'Manifest Destiny' " from 1839

John L O'Sullivan, the columnist who coined the term "Manifest Destiny," puts forward the case for The United States as the chosen nation. O' Sullivan contrasts nations with bloody histories which oppress them with America, which he sees as free of such hindrances and therefore free to march towards the future- the future being America's rightful domain.
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  1. antiquity
    the historic period preceding the Middle Ages in Europe
    The American people having derived their origin from many other nations, and the Declaration of National Independence being entirely based on the great principle of human equality, these facts demonstrate at once our disconnected position as regards any other nation; that we have, in reality, but little connection with the past history of any of them, and still less with all antiquity, its glories, or its crimes.
  2. contrary
    exact opposition
    On the contrary, our national birth was the beginning of a new history, the formation and progress of an untried political system, which separates us from the past and connects us with the future only; and so far as regards the entire development of the natural rights of man, in moral, political, and national life, we may confidently assume that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity.
  3. annals
    a chronological account of events in successive years
    Besides, the truthful annals of any nation furnish abundant evidence, that its happiness, its greatness, its duration, were always proportionate to the democratic equality in its system of government.
  4. proportionate
    being in due magnitude or extent
    Besides, the truthful annals of any nation furnish abundant evidence, that its happiness, its greatness, its duration, were always proportionate to the democratic equality in its system of government.
  5. refinement
    the result of improving something
    What friend of human liberty, civilization, and refinement, can cast his view over the past history of the monarchies and aristocracies of antiquity, and not deplore that they ever existed?
  6. deplore
    express strong disapproval of
    What friend of human liberty, civilization, and refinement, can cast his view over the past history of the monarchies and aristocracies of antiquity, and not deplore that they ever existed?
  7. carnage
    the savage and excessive killing of many people
    Our annals describe no scenes of horrid carnage, where men were led on by hundreds of thousands to slay one another, dupes and victims to emperors, kings, nobles, demons in the human form called heroes.
  8. dupe
    fool or hoax
    Our annals describe no scenes of horrid carnage, where men were led on by hundreds of thousands to slay one another, dupes and victims to emperors, kings, nobles, demons in the human form called heroes.
  9. aspirant
    an ambitious young person
    We have had patriots to defend our homes, our liberties, but no aspirants to crowns or thrones; nor have the American people ever suffered themselves to be led on by wicked ambition to depopulate the land, to spread desolation far and wide, that a human being might be placed on a seat of supremacy.
  10. desolation
    sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned
    We have had patriots to defend our homes, our liberties, but no aspirants to crowns or thrones; nor have the American people ever suffered themselves to be led on by wicked ambition to depopulate the land, to spread desolation far and wide, that a human being might be placed on a seat of supremacy.
  11. expansive
    able or tending to extend in one or more directions
    The expansive future is our arena, and for our history.
  12. beneficent
    doing or producing good
    We are entering on its untrodden space, with the truths of God in our minds, beneficent objects in our hearts, and with a clear conscience unsullied by the past.
  13. unsullied
    free from blemishes
    We are entering on its untrodden space, with the truths of God in our minds, beneficent objects in our hearts, and with a clear conscience unsullied by the past.
  14. prevail
    be larger in number, quantity, power, status or importance
    We point to the everlasting truth on the first page of our national declaration, and we proclaim to the millions of other lands, that "the gates of hell" -- the powers of aristocracy and monarchy -- "shall not prevail against it."
  15. manifest
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High -- the Sacred and the True.
  16. firmament
    the sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected
    Its floor shall be a hemisphere -- its roof the firmament of the star-studded heavens, and its congregation an Union of many Republics, comprising hundreds of happy millions, calling, owning no man master, but governed by God's natural and moral law of equality, the law of brotherhood -- of "peace and good will amongst men.".
  17. exemplar
    something to be imitated
    Equality of rights is the cynosure of our union of States, the grand exemplar of the correlative equality of individuals; and while truth sheds its effulgence, we cannot retrograde, without dissolving the one and subverting the other.
  18. effulgence
    the quality of being bright and sending out rays of light
    Equality of rights is the cynosure of our union of States, the grand exemplar of the correlative equality of individuals; and while truth sheds its effulgence, we cannot retrograde, without dissolving the one and subverting the other.
  19. retrograde
    moving or directed or tending in a backward direction
    Equality of rights is the cynosure of our union of States, the grand exemplar of the correlative equality of individuals; and while truth sheds its effulgence, we cannot retrograde, without dissolving the one and subverting the other.
  20. immutable
    not subject or susceptible to change or variation
    All this will be our future history, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man -- the immutable truth and beneficence of God.
  21. beneficence
    the quality of being kind or helpful or generous
    All this will be our future history, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man -- the immutable truth and beneficence of God.
  22. smite
    inflict a heavy blow on, with the hand, a tool, or a weapon
    For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field.
  23. oligarch
    member of a small group that runs a country, business, etc.
    For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field.
  24. myriad
    a large indefinite number
    For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field.
  25. enviable
    causing desire to have something possessed by another
    For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field.

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