Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Manifest Destiny

                    The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that the United States must be an example and blessing to every other nation on earth because it has a manifest destiny to do so.  From Christopher Columbus to the Pilgrims and Puritans to the Founding Father - all American settlers felt a strong sense of mission.  They felt that they were part of a divine plan and had a manifest destiny to bless all human beings.

                    John Adams remarked about the manifest destiny of America when he stated:  "I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth."  (Quoted in Conrad Cherry, God's New Israel, p 65).

                    Other Founders shared this same idea of the manifest destiny of America.  John Jay, one of the Founders, wrote:  "It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty.  Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions and watered it with innumerable streams for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants.  A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities. 

                    John Jay added, "With equal pleasure I have often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people - a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established their general liberty and independence."

                    John Jay ended with these thoughts:  "This country and this people seem to have been made for each other and it appears as if it was the design of Providence that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest of ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties" (The Federalist Papers, No 2, p 38).

This same idea of manifest destiny continues today as expressed by every new President of the United States.  Our Founders - as well as later Americans - felt the responsibility to provide superior leadership and service to the people of the world.  Our Founders understood that they had created a unique government, and they felt the responsibility to make it successful.

There is good reason why so many people feel that the United States and its Constitution are something special.  The Book of Mormon - Another Witness of Jesus Christ states that this land was held in reserve until the appropriate time for it to be found.  It was not by chance that Columbus discovered America.  It was not by chance that the Pilgrims and Puritans came to America because of religious persecution in other lands.  It was not by chance that General George Washington and his rag tag army of volunteers was able to win a war against the strongest military in the world.  It was not by chance that the Framers wrote the United States Constitution as they did.  Heavenly Father inspired all of them in their decisions because He wanted this land to be free of tyranny.

                    The Founders of our nation shared the same opinion of our nation as many ancient prophets who wrote that America is a promised land which is choice above all other lands.  A prophet named Lehi said that if the inhabitants of this land will keep God's commandments, they will prosper and no other nation will molest them nor take away the land.

                    In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord Jesus Christ said, "According to the laws and Constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; … And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood" (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77, 80).

                    According to this scripture, our Founders were correct in their idea that America has a manifest destiny to be a blessing to all human beings.  America and Americans must be prepared to show the people and nations of the world that our example is a good one to follow.

                    Many of the ideas and quotes for this post came from W. Cleon Skousen, The Five Thousand Year Leap, pp 215-219.

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