Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  9 (1884–85), 578–90.

"Manifest Destiny"

John Fiske




Progress, Industry, Evolution, Population, Statistics, Imperialism, Race, Futurism

    Argues that as the 'industrial phase of civilization slowly supplants the military phase [...] Men become less inclined to destroy life or to inflict pain; or to use the popular terminology, which happens to coincide precisely with that of the doctrine of evolution, they become less brutal and more humane' (578). Considers the 'rapidity and unabated steadiness of the increase of the English race in America', and suggests that a 'very simple operation in arithmetic' shows that the 'fact that the Americans double their numbers every twenty years' will lead to 'a population of fifteen hundred millions, or more than the population of the whole world at the present date' by the 'close of the twentieth century' (584–85). Although 'there are discernible economic reasons for believing that there will be a diminution in the rate of increase', the 'absence of such causes as formerly retarded the growth of population in Europe' and the 'abundant capacity of our country for feeding its people' means that it is an 'extremely moderate statement if we say that by the end of the next century the English race in the United States will number at least six or seven hundred millions' (585). Compares the English colonisation of North America in the seventeenth-century with 'what is going on in Africa to-day', and proclaims that this 'vast country, rich in beautiful scenery, and in resources of timber and minerals, with a salubrious climate and fertile soil [...] will not much longer be left in control of tawny lions and long-eared elephants, and negro fetich-worshippers' (587). Rather, 'within two or three centuries the African continent will be occupied by a mighty nation of English descent, and covered with populous cities and flourishing farms, with railroads and telegraphs and free schools and other devices of civilization as yet undreamed of'. Similar developments will also happen in Australia as well as in New Zealand, where the 'English race is now multiplying faster than anywhere else in the world'. In fact, in the 'stupendous future of the English race' it is 'destined' that 'every land on the earth's surface that is not already the seat of an old civilization shall become English in its language, in its religion, in its political habits and traditions, and to a predominant extent in the blood of its people'. (588)

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