Reginald Horsman’s Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American

Updated April 19, 2022

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Reginald Horsman’s Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American essay

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Racial Anglo-Saxonism traces the half of the nineteenth century focused around Anglo-Saxonism. He analyzes the evidence and reasons of racial prejudices throughout America. Horsman argues that Anglo-Saxonism had been focused on political institutions through the Revolutionary War, which is a product of the English Reformation. Encouraged by Enlightenment ideas about finding universal patterns of humanity, this viewpoint maintained confidence in spreading and teaching American republicanism to people around the world. Saxonism began to take a turn towards a racial ideology, and several factors influenced this shift. To begin, European Romanticism progressively emphasized individual differences and uniqueness as opposed to universalizing Enlightenment thought. Next, there was an increase in scientific racialism and the idea of different races as fundamentally different. Anglo-Saxonism was considered superior to inferior non-whites.

Then, on-the-ground realities reinforced the idea of races as inferior. Horsman argues that racial inferiority hardened and gained adherence starting in the 1810s through the mid-19th century. By the 1840s, he believes that the concept of a hierarchy of races was the majority opinion. He depends on the Mexican War and experience in the Southwest during the 1840s to make his point. Most people saw the Mexican race as a troublesome and totalitarian one, and debates around the propriety of the war did litter to call this into question. Anti-militarists often used the idea of their racial inferiority to argue that expansion into Mexico would be dangerous for the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race. By mid-century debates over conquering all of Mexico at the end of the war and expansion into Asian markets brought into line the notion that active colonization could pose a danger to the racial stock of Anglo Saxons, and that the far safer option would be aggressive expansion through commercial penetration and “outbreeding” and replacing other races. Horsman portrays the growth of a racial ideology in terms of justifying the expansion of the United States and its tremendous exploitation and suffering it caused other people. “White Americans could rest easier if the sufferings of other races could be blamed on racial weakness rather than on the whites’ relentless search for wealth and power. In the 1830s and 1840s, when it became obvious that American and Mexican interests were incompatible and that the Mexicans would suffer, innate weaknesses were found in the Mexicans. (Horsman 1981)” The problem with this belief is that White Americans refuse to accept responsibility for their actions that have caused struggle and suffering to non-whites.

Americans are convinced they are the superior race, and therefore should have an easy life while other races suffer. The war between races affects the way Americans perceive other non-whites, specifically the Mexicans. According to Horsman, “The Mexicans had failed because they were a mixed, inferior race with considerable Indian and some black blood. The world would benefit if a superior race shaped the future of the Southwest. (1981)” The ideology of having one superior race and multiple inferior races is one of the major flaws in America. Horsman describes the war between the White Americans and other non-whites as a situation where the Caucasians have elected themselves to be the leaders of all races and are certain that America would be a stronger country if non-white races did not exist. Horsman aided in the creation of a “gallant band of Anglo-Saxon freemen struggling to throw off the yoke of Mexican oppression. (1981).” The image of Mexicans that was created caused a sense of hatred towards them as human beings. White Americans were heartless toward the Mexican people due to the belief they were taking away from the American people. This, however, is false because, without diversity from different races, America would not progressively advance throughout the years.

Horsman describes how the American Anglo-Saxons refused to teach other people and would replace them instead. Anglo-Saxons showed no mercy toward non-white races due to the hatred built up in one’s body. According to Horsman, “The stereotype of exotic, receptive Mexican women and lazy, inept Mexican men was to sink deep into American racial mythology. (1981).” This statement is a propaganda against Mexico, and those arguing Mexican inferiority said Mexicans did not believe in racial hierarchy. Mixing Mexicans with Indians made them inferior, and the political system of America would be demolished if inferior Mexicans were to be active members. All hope in restoring faith in the White Americans to be open-minded and forgoing of other non-white races was lost because the American people refused to be educated about the importance of integrating other races throughout society. There was a firm belief in innate inferiority. “The Whig newspapers condemned the new militarism, but they accepted the new racial theories. (Horsman,1981)” Caucasian people did not want Mexicans integrated and considered them to be a “wretched population.” The White American people did not want Mexicans to reside in America, but they wanted to take control of a portion of their land. White Americans only wanted what was believed to be the best for themselves; they were greedy. When compared to other races, the Mexicans were no better than the Indians, and therefore they were disregarded by the whites. At the end of the war when America defeated Mexico, it only proved to the White Americans that their judgment of the Mexicans was correct. Horsman’s portrayal of the White American people allowed readers to view a side of them that has been seen before in further detail. Racism will always be part of the foundation of America and its people because of past actions.

Throughout Race and Manifest Destiny, Reginald Horsman described how the Caucasian race highly discriminated other non-white races, such as Mexicans, Indians, and African Americans. The way in which white people treated, thought of, and responded to other races showed how ignorant and heartless they were. Being a “superior race” was a crucial factor in the racism seen by the White Americans because they believed they deserved nothing but the best, while the other races did not deserve anything.

Reginald Horsman’s Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American essay

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Reginald Horsman’s Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American. (2022, Apr 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/reginald-horsmans-race-and-manifest-destiny-the-origins-of-american/


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