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William Eleroy Curtis, "United States to Dominate the Hemisphere"



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In the early 1890s, the American Press Association put together a feature series of writings in preparation for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. They commissioned 74 notable Americans to make predictions about American life in the 1990s, in the process producing an interesting commentary on life in the 1890s. The variety of essays reflected the diversity of the contributors, including a senator (John J. Ingalls), an electrical engineer (John J. Carty), a poet (Elizabeth Akers Allen), and a minister (Thomas De Witt Talmage). The segments ran in newspapers across the country from March through May 1893, in time for the World's Fair opening.

The manifest destiny of the United States is to dominate the American hemisphere. This will be accomplished not by political intrigue, not by diplomatic negotiations, not by the force of arms, not by the annexation of territory, and not by the establishment of protectorates -- but by the influence of example and by commercial relations.

The tie that will bind the American republics and colonies will by the tie of trade. And in 1993 American commerce, to a very large degree, will be confined to American waters.

There will be a railway between Buenos Aires and Chicago. Thus the remnant of that race whose misfortunes have made the history of Peru pathetic [the Incas] will contemplate the blessings of civil and religious liberty under the shadows of the Bartholdi Statue and the Washington Monument. There will be weekly voyages across the gulf which divides the southern coast of North America from the northern coasts of Central and South America. And the theory of Columbus concerning a western passage to the Indies will be realized by the construction of an isthmian canal.

The fabled El Dorado, which was sought so persistently for three centuries among the green jungles of the Orinoco and the Amazon, will be found in the bottom of the Andes. And the gold and silver of Bolivia and the diamonds of Brazil will be exchanged for the cotton of our southern section and the manufactured merchandise of our northern states.

As we must have the coffee, the sugar, and the other fruits of the tropic zones, so must those who raise them have the results of our mechanical industry and genius. The Creator intended there should be an exchange of products between the American continents. He distributed their natural resources so that their population can live in prosperity and contentment without an ounce of European or Asiatic merchandise.

The value of the commerce between the United States and the Latin American countries in 1870 was $170,904,000; in 1890, $289,826,000; in 1891, $332,926,000; and in 1892, $381,440,000. These figures show that the divine purpose is gradually becoming a fact.


Consider This Question



1. How much of Curtis's essay aligns with the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, which defined United States claims in the affairs of the Western hemisphere?

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