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The American Ideal - Free Trade and Political Liberties

            The creation of the United States was by no means predictable. The English were not the earliest colonizers of the Americas nor did the English possess an exceptionally large piece of North American territory. It might have seemed that with their territorial advantage and early start, the Spanish colonies were best posed to take control of the new world. Nonetheless, some of the earliest Americans always felt their nation was destined for greatness. John Winthrop and the puritans believed that their superior morality would propel them to become the envy of the world1. Later Americans added ethnic, political, and economic justifications for the rise of the United States. The unique transformation the United States underwent, from colony to international power, shaped its foreign policy; starting out as an outsider to affairs dominated by Europe, the United States sought to promote self-benefiting policies like free trade while encouraging the growth of the American ideal and standing in opposition to European colonialism. .
             America's early leaders witnessed a revolutionary occurrence – the rise of a fledgling nation from periphery to power. This transformation forged the American cultural memory. Even as early as 1783, Ezra Stiles projected that the US will be "a very great nation, nearly equal to half Europe."2 Reverend Josiah Strong saw the massive territorial acquisition and economic rise of the US as credence to the theory of American racial superiority3. His viewpoint was one extreme present at the time, but many Americans believed that they were exceptional. Their lineage from "man­producing working­folk of all the earth," fueled "by right of their institutions" and "by authority of their Heaven-directed purposes" qualified America as" propagandists and not the misers of liberty"4. It was clear to many Americans that their rise in power was a divine appointment to spread the American miracle abroad.

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