We invite CHS members and visitors to join us for a brown bag lunch talk with Daniel Burge, a New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC) fellow who will be conducting research here this spring.
Dr. Burge’s research focuses on people who opposed the idea of manifest destiny – the notion that American was destined to expand across all of North America. Historians have argued that manifest destiny was popular and pervasive in the United States from 1846-1854, but Dr. Burge has found that many Americans remained troubled at the idea of continental expansion. While many politicians, racial theorists, and economic boosters remained steadfast in their belief that the United States would annex Canada, Mexico, and Cuba, ordinary Americans were far less confident in the continental future of the nation.
This talk focuses on Connecticut and the ways in which individuals from Connecticut challenged the central tenets of manifest destiny. Historians have often drawn a tenuous link between Puritan theology and the emergence of manifest destiny in the 1840s. In contrast, Dr. Burge argues that manifest destiny was challenged most often by New Englanders because of its biblical underpinnings. Literary, political, and religious leaders such as John A. Rockwell, Truman Smith, Leonard Bacon, and Lydia Sigourney marshalled a cohesive and sustained attack on manifest destiny over the nineteenth century, often relying upon religion. In January of 1846, John A. Rockwell, a US Congressman from Connecticut, delivered a speech on expansionism in which he labelled the idea of manifest destiny “heathenish and absurd.” Manifest destiny did not sweep through the nation without dissent. It was challenged at every turn and thwarted on numerous occasions.
We will provide coffee and dessert; bring your lunch to enjoy during the talk. Please RSVP by March 20 by calling (860) 236-5621 x238 or emailing [email protected]. Questions? Contact Natalie Belanger, Adult Programs Manager, at [email protected].