The Truman era by Isidor Feinstein Stone

By Isidor Feinstein Stone

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S. institutions. Recently renowned poet Edgar Allan Poe followed Cushing to the lectern, but the editors, put off by his "somewhat fanciful preface;' departed before Poe began his recitation. After his fall triumph, the Lyceum invited Cushing to return to deliver a lecture specifically on the Oregon crisis. He praised the vigorous, yet con­ ciliatory nature of the James K. Polk administration while attacking the "pretensions" of Great Britain in the Northwest. S. policy, confident that England, dependent on Yankee corn and Southern cotton, would be reluctant to fight over so remote an outpost.

Naturally, he became the colonel. The regi­ ment served in Mexico but never saw combat. Cushing, frustrated by his failure to win laurels on the field, took some solace in his promotion by the president to brigadier-general. " Eager Democrats, however, welcomed his political rebirth and twice nominated him (1847 and 1848) for governor. 33 While Cushing took delight in the confidence of his new party, he reveled even more so in the success of the nation at war. The Treaty of Guadalupe­ Hidalgo in 1848 ceded millions of acres of the Southwest and California to the United States.

Initially for Cushing, the evolution of Ameri­ can empire seemed a natural, inevitable phenomenon. It helped him define his own and, more importantly, the nation's identity. After the Mexican War, Manifest Destiny took on additional meaning: it became a vehicle for preser­ vation of the Union. Expansion became the glue that held the nation to­ gether. " He altered his politics and his party. He abandoned the economic nationalism ofWhiggery for the expansionist nationalism of the Democracy.

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