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Meeting the EnemyAmerican Exceptionalism and International Law$
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Natsu Taylor Saito

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814798362

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814798362.001.0001

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A Manifest Destiny

A Manifest Destiny

First Principles and American Identity

(p.76) 4 Establishing the Republic
Meeting the Enemy

Natsu Taylor Saito

NYU Press

This chapter examines how the ideological framing of the United States's domestic practice converged with foreign policy, focusing on the consolidation of U.S. territorial claims to encompass all of its “lower forty-eight” states. It begins with an overview of American territorial expansion in the nineteenth century involving numerous acquisitions of territory not only from Indigenous nations but also from countries recognized as fully independent sovereign states. It then considers the rationale used by the United States to exempt itself from the strictures of international law, as well as the U.S. Constitution, in the course of its expansion. It also explains how America expanded the arguments used by the earliest English settlers to articulate a unique “manifest destiny” and argues that U.S. continental expansion is an illustration of American exceptionalism.

Keywords:   foreign policy, lower forty-eight states, manifest destiny, continental expansion, territorial expansion, United States, international law, American exceptionalism

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