Triangular Concepts and Context, on Day 27/67?

      My thoughts on  Day 27 of my 67 night-school class set of lesson plans for GED/HiSet learners, were on not only understanding what the concept of Manifest Destiny was, but also how in the modern context, it continues to shape points of view and ways of looking at the world by everyone who grew up in this country, however unconsciously, and current outcomes, particularly for poor and non-white citizens and residents.

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Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BSCS


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21 thoughts on “Triangular Concepts and Context, on Day 27/67?

    1. This is a very old painting, to me, anyway. It’s the classic US textbook image of Manifest Destiny taught, at least back in the 1970s, in both New Jersey and Virginia (at least in Prince William County), and in all of the standard US history books I’ve ever seen. This one is from the Wikimedia Commons, but it is a duplicate of the 1850s-ish painting.

      It portrays the idea that the USA had a ‘manifest’ly clear ‘Destiny’ to conquer the entire length of the continent, and was used both to justify that idea and to inculcate it into generations of Americans.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. No, no need at all to apologize!

          Please accept my apologies for assuming that readers would be familiar with the image, and neglecting to explain it!

          Yes, this is one of the images that all Americans of a certain age will recognize immediately (and remember by heart, as with The Pledge of Allegiance) from elementary school through perhaps high school, depending on where they attended. This idea was aggressively pushed as a completely justified program of ‘civilizing the noble savages’ to bring ‘progress’ to the continent. Trains, settlers farming, and the buffalo and Indians being pushed west are deliberately emphasized.
          Notice that there are no Black folks in the painting?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thanks for your kindness. It is an image that I had not seen before but now that I understand its purpose, I can see what you mean! A lot of this is not taught in the schools of Europe! Yes, we had to read “serious” novels like the Oregon Trail but that kind of airbrushed the “bigger picture” out! It is quite unsettling to see this kind of subliminal propaganda these days. Very unnerving in fact! 😦

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            1. This is likely one of the reasons that so many Black artists, like Marion Anderson, Anna J. Cooper, and of course, the recently honored in the Pantheon Josephine Baker, had to leave the US to succeed.
              We hope to change this, sooner rather than later.
              We really can Do Better.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Yes, so do I, but this is not a process, from where the US is today, to full housing, free education, universal health care, and good public transportation. That process takes time, and planning. We are so far from these goals, today, that most who have read the Project Do Better manifesto claim it to be impossible, but it is not impossible, merely difficult.


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            3. Thank you! That is precisely what I point to in the book. Problem is that many Americans don’t want to look outside of the US for examples of anything good. This is one reason that I post in my other languages, both to remind us of how language study builds empathy, but also to show that there are valuable examples in places outside of the US that have lessons to teach us here in the ‘USA’ if only all of us would listen…

              (and the best part of it is that our health care system, such as it is, is actually more expensive and less effective for most of us than the systems in Europe…)

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        2. This is an excellent question, btw, and I am very glad that you have asked it: most Americans from a certain two generations took this idea for granted, even while raising Generation X, who also may have chaffed at it, but we mostly didn’t try to question it too often (when I asked questions, even my classmates yelled at me in class!). It is a part of US history that rarely gets confronted, perhaps until recently.

          It needs to be confronted.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Many thanks!
            Agreed! It is an important issue! I suspect that folks brought-up with such a powerful image are likely to be very reluctant to confront it and re-evaluate but I hope that the children and the next generation can do so properly!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Many thanks to you, as well!
              This is indeed a powerful image that caused … reluctance to question, as was the intent. Questioning it has been very difficult, but I am gaining confidence in Generation Z that there may be hope for humanity!

              Liked by 2 people

            2. I tried to link the image with The Triangular Trade, which all Black American will (hopefully) recognize instantly, but I suppose that that again depends on where we went to school. Having Black teachers made a huge difference, I could see even back then, once I went to High School, in DC, but there was no mention, if I recall correctly from middle school in the 1980s, in VA, and certainly none in New Jersey in the 1970s, despite the show Roots making a ground-breaking entry into television.

              Most or many Americans will likely dispute the connection between Manifest Destiny and the Triangular Trade, but it was there, and one drove the other. Without the westward expansion supported by slave labor, the program of conquest would have been much more difficult, if not impossible.

              Liked by 2 people

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