Manifest Destiny, Personalized and Modernized

John Gast's painting American Progress 1872, public domain

John Gast’s painting American Progress 1872, public domain

Maybe it’s because we just passed another 4th of July holiday, and it is the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg and I’ve been dipping back in history in general but I woke up in the middle of the night recently thinking about manifest destiny.  My next thought was to try to bring up the context for the reference, followed by the thought that I should take this back up again in the morning.

This phrase seems to have been coined in the 1800s, with broad use and unclear definition.  Basically the phrase was used in whatever manner suited expansion of the American ideal of that time and place.  I remember hearing it in both history and literature classes back in my school days.

America has had reach from the east to the west coasts for some time, one of the intents of manifest destiny, and we have promoted democratic ideals globally which is another intent.  We seem to have grown a bit weary and jaded at this stage of American progress and leave idealism for small pockets of energetic folk.

But I put personalized and modernized in the title after this 19th century ideal.

Something which is manifest is evident or obvious and while we don’t much talk in terms of destiny anymore, we know that it means something that will happen.  Perhaps we could apply this to the current debate about the place of higher education, for each individual.  Based on a person’s overall goals in life, is it their manifest destiny to attend college?  (And thereby, most likely, incur debt?)

There are no overreaching answers to questions like these, rather personal reflection on the balance of the question against the expectation of the individual – i.e. if it is my manifest destiny to (fill in the blank) then college seems (select one: worth the cost and effort, not worth the cost and effort).

Answer me this, what do you think of manifest destiny?

© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

2 responses to “Manifest Destiny, Personalized and Modernized

  1. I’ll have to give this some thought. I think that means it was a good post.

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