Talk:Manifest destiny

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Former good article Manifest destiny was one of the History good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 25, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
February 26, 2008 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article


The article is titled in lowercase, but "Manifest Destiny" is capitalized in the article itself. Which should it be? Curly Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 04:10, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

MOS:DOCTCAPS suggests capitalization only when referring to a "specific incident or period." I suppose one could argue either way; it is an idea not derived from a proper name but may also refer to a specific period. Qzd (talk) 05:51, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Whichever way it goes, the article is now in a state of inconsistency. Curly Turkey 🍁 ¡gobble! 10:24, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Book in Columbia's hand and unconstructive reverts[edit]

A higher quality photo of John Gast's painting shows that the book in Columbia's hand is a school book, not a Bible; the words "SCHOOL BOOK" is clearly visible in the painting. User:H.dryad, could you explain to me why you are reverting my edits? It's generally bad Wikipedia etiquette to undo edits (save for reverting blatant vandalism) without an explanation. (talk) 19:41, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

All you need to do is to provide a source from a book, journal or website stating this. All new entries to this article must be sourced. Let me know if you need help formatting the citation. Once the citation is included, your edit will remain. Hama Dryad (talk · contribs) 19:53, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
David in DC already appears to have settled the matter. Favonian (talk) 19:58, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
OK, good. I did find a reference if it is needed. Hama Dryad (talk · contribs) 20:03, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
I see, thanks. Sorry, I'm still new to Wikipedia. (talk) 20:06, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
No problem. Happy editing! Hama Dryad (talk · contribs) 20:30, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

"American People" Seems An Odd Choice of Words[edit]

I'm not going to take part in any edit war, and indeed I'm not going to change a word of this article as I find it.

Perhaps to show future readers of Wikipedia that we were not all nuts in the 21st century, I'm just saying I would have thought "European settlers" would have been a better term than "American people" here and there.

There are to this day several, perhaps many, American peoples, and the original white settlers of today's United States only make up two or three of them. I don't know what the slaves of Monroe's day thought about the manifest destiny of the United States, or about the doctrine Manifest Destiny. Could the author of the article perhaps add a note on this? They were, after all, a substantial percentage of the population. Even when multiplied by 3/5.

Just to forestall silly American trumpeters, I've been on record for correct use of the term "politically correct" back to its introduction to ironic use in America in 1966. No, I am not indulging in political correctness here. I am calling out an egregious example of American academic solipsism.

David Lloyd-Jones (talk) 22:04, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 1 April 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: No consensus to move. (non-admin closure) Music1201 talk 23:51, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Manifest destinyManifest Destiny – Currently the text of the article and the title of the article are inconsistent in terms of capitalization. The article text has used "Manifest Destiny" throughout for at least three years, apparently without controversy. The article should be retitled to match this use. (Alternately, if there is no consensus for this move, the text should altered to use "manifest destiny" throughout.) Deli nk (talk) 12:37, 1 April 2016 (UTC)

Agree. the quotes show that RS heavily prefer the caps: Manifest Destiny. according to google search of university press books Rjensen (talk) 13:48, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose – See previous discussion at Talk:Manifest_destiny/Archive_2#Lower-caseism_re_title. This is not a proper name; not even close to consistently capitalized in sources. We should fix the article instead, to be more in line with MOS:CAPS. Dicklyon (talk) 16:51, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:NCCAPS – Not a proper name, not consistently capitalised in RS. As such, downcase RGloucester 03:05, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Support a particular manifest destiny, referred to as the "Manifest Destiny" of the United States, as opposed to other supposed manifest destinies of other countries and peoples, like Lebensraum, or of the Church, or Rome, or the Caliphate, etc ; we should have a conceptual article for the generic concept, instead of the specific version found in the United States, here. -- (talk) 05:04, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
I have never heard "manifest destiny" used outside the American context, and the present article contains no content on such a usage. Do you have evidence that such a usage exists, or are you merely creating one out of thin air by associating similar but unrelated ideologies with the term "manifest destiny"? RGloucester 15:14, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
I've seen it used for Lebensraum and Nazism before, such as
  • The East was the Nazi Manifest Destiny. In Hitler’s view, “in the East a similar process will repeat itself for a second time as in the conquest of America.” As Hitler imagined the future, Germany would deal with the Slavs much as the North Americans had dealt with the Indians. The Volga River in Russia, he once proclaimed, will be Germany’s Mississippi. [1]
  • A grand road connected the old city of Nuremberg with the Nazi rallying grounds. Everything, in fact, was built on a grand, imposing scale in order to emphasise the significance of the Fuehrer, the Nazi leadership and the “manifest destiny” of the superpower of the day. [2]
  • Nazism was not inevitable; the authors distance themselves from any deterministic arguments (e.g., Hitler as Germany's manifest destiny). [3]
And for other topics
  • However, Israel occupies Palestine by right, Isaac was the son of promise, and has yet to fulfill its manifest destiny. Indeed, much of the constant conflict is the result of Israel's failure to fulfill its Divinely appointed manifest destiny. The specific dimensions of the Promised Land have varied in relation to Israel’s obedience to God but the Gaza strip and the West Bank fall within territory that is indisputably Israeli. The territory occupied during the time of King David and King Solomon represents, more or less, Israel's proper boundaries as described in the book of Numbers, chapter 34. [4]
So yes, there are other uses -- (talk) 02:53, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
In each case, those are direct references to the American concept, not independent "manifest destinies" as you claimed. If anything, your sources prove that "manifest destiny" is not a proper name, but a general description or theory that should not be capitalised per MOS:DOCTCAPS. RGloucester 04:11, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:NCCAPS. InsertCleverPhraseHere 08:46, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per RJensen's comment (which is kind of lost tucked under the nom): "Agree. the quotes show that RS heavily prefer the caps: Manifest Destiny. according to google search of university press books", per the past talk-page discussion linked in Dicklyon's comment and this from the same page. Upper-case "Destiny" remains the common name, and to label a major concept as a proper name, which this seems to be, occurs elsewhere throughout history and Wikipedia. Randy Kryn 15:25, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
In that particular search of "university press" books, I see an average of 4 lower and 6 upper case per page of 10 hits, over the first 5 pages. Even for this selected set of refs, the 60% caps does not meet the usual threshold of MOS:CAPS: "consistently capitalized in sources". If it was 75% as the the discussion you linked claimed, then maybe; but not 60%. Looking at all English books n-grams, we see that the usage including titles and headings has only recently reached 60%. It is not WP's style to follow such trends in capitalization for topic emphasis, per MOS:CAPS. Dicklyon (talk) 16:41, 3 April 2016 (UTC)
Rjensen's data, and even your 60% figure, should easily hoist that "d" into a "D". Manifest Destiny gave Americans a goal, a mindset, which expanded that nation to the detriment of Mexico, Spain, and the Native American Indians. That concept became a major concept in the history of the continent, and for it to be recognized here as just another "destiny" seems anti-encyclopedic. Accuracy, even if it as low as 60 percent (low?), gives a boost to hoisting that "D". Randy Kryn 20:54, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Prelude discussion to move review[edit]

Non-admin closer Music1201 closed this in under a minute, which goes directly against several closing instructions which ask closers to study the data presented, not just count "votes". To not move such a page about a nation-expanding historical concept from just another "destiny" (?) to it's seemingly rightfully proper name in under a minute, which includes labeling the close, seems to call this close into question. I've asked Rjensen to comment, and maybe this move can be reconsidered or reopened here. I'm surprised none of us, myself included, thought of notifying various Wikipedia history and American history projects about this move, which probably should be policy on such major move requests. It's hard even typing Manifest destiny without capitalizing the "D". Some moves take hours, days, or even weeks of study and contemplation. This was decided in under a minute. Assuming good faith, either a fast reader, researcher, and observer, or NZT. Wikipedia seems almost alone in Search engine results, which should be a major component of a close. Is a Move review the best way to go on this? Randy Kryn 13:44, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

Someone has edited the page so 'manifest destiny' is now totally uncapitalized, which makes Wikipedia that much more of an outlier on this and, in a personal opinion, makes Wikipedia look kind of stupid. This could be a yuck and a beer bet at historian conventions. Nah, this is one we have to get right and capitalize it. Randy Kryn 17:36, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
That was me, as I'm sure you know. Note that the RM proposal above complained that "Currently the text of the article and the title of the article are inconsistent in terms of capitalization." This was worth fixing. It also claimed that "The article text has used 'Manifest Destiny' throughout for at least three years, apparently without controversy." That's not true. The majority of the uses in the article were lowercase already. Making it more consistent was not hard (if I count right, I lowercased 9 of 121 occurrences in the article). I left the ones that in quotes and titles capitalized, of course (but I haven't verified all the quotes, so there may be more to be done). Dicklyon (talk) 17:40, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
Knew it was you, wasn't going to toss your name around. Especially on this, which is, come on, you have to agree on some of these, an error on several levels. But it's been an error right from the start of the article's creation (I followed it for awhile, was born as and was a lower-case title). As Mr. Trump would say, sad, so sad. James Polk is turning over in his grave, but I guess he has been since 2002 so he's used to it, it's his 'chan de geste destiny'. Randy Kryn 18:40, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
I have to agree why? Dicklyon (talk) 19:10, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
Well, you don't have to of course, but it seems so obvious. Kind of like downcasing new deal or Reagan doctrine. Randy Kryn 19:37, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
That's a whole different deal. Dicklyon (talk) 19:45, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
lol, put up the RMs and I'll pop the popcorn. 2008, back in the day. Randy Kryn 19:53, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
I closed the discussion after analyzing the votes. There is a clear disagreement and the discussion was not leaning toward either "support" nor "oppose." I could not find a relevent policy that would support the move. If you disagree you can just reopen it, since everyone seems to be having a disagreement. Music1201 talk 20:58, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi Music1201. You looked at this for less than a minute and then closed it. Not to overly criticize, for another major closer, at Montgomery bus boycott, read, researched, analyzed, and looked at the sources (well, maybe not) in five minutes. People do a lot of work and analysis during these discussions, every sentence, every point counts, and it's not a matter of counting but of looking and reading. The search engine results alone should have shown that just about everyone capitalizes this. Again, it's not your mistake, the page was created with 'destiny' in lower-case and was that way for years, maybe always. Likely these major RM's should include pings and notices to Wikipedia project groups, such as History and American history. This one seems important enough to discuss further, and hopefully this discussion will make you a better and slower closer. Randy Kryn 23:03, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment I had to revert another close by this editor. Music1201 has been registered on Wikipedia for less than a month which should automatically preclude him from closing move discussions, since non-admin closes should only be carried out by experienced editors. Betty Logan (talk) 21:22, 11 April 2016 (UTC)
How did that work out for you, Betty? You reverted a close on a discussion where you supported a move, and the new closer closed it as "not moved" instead of "no consensus". It looks to me like Music1201 has been pretty reasonable in recognizing easy no-consensus cases. Dicklyon (talk) 01:26, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Except the Girls Gone Wild discussion was not closed as "no consensus", so in this case Music1201's close was misjudged. The closer closed the discussion specifically on the grounds that he found the nominating rational invalid which is fundamentally different to declaring that there is no consensus between the competing arguments. So no, based on that close I don't think he does have a good track record in recognizing a "no consensus" case, and editors are right to have concerns about his inexperience. Betty Logan (talk) 01:52, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

Randy, your "under a minute" should be "under two minutes" per the timestamps of his edits. But who's counting? Dicklyon (talk) 03:00, 12 April 2016 (UTC)

The page Betty is talking about was closed at 23:50 and this one at 23:51, so I guess if you benefit-of-doubt stretch it into the start and end of those two minutes that works. More than enough time to decide the fate of manifest destiny. Randy Kryn 20:46, 12 April 2016 (UTC)
Indeed. And as I've told you a million times, please don't exaggerate. Dicklyon (talk) 01:21, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

Comment Professor Jensen's search and comment alone should be enough to support the move. In any event, I have seen both words of this term capitalized whenever I have come across it (except in a few quotations, such as O'Sullivan's original words in 1845, where both words are in small case). Some examples: Book title: Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union: Fruits of Manifest Destiny: 1847–1852. Vol. I. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947. SBN 684-10423-7; Book title: Woodworth, Steven E. Manifest Destinies: America's Westward Expansion and the Road to the Civil War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. ISBN 978-0-307-26524-1; Pages 48, 51, 104, 107: McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford History of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 978-0-19-503863-7 - a few other uses with both small letters; Page 31: Klein, Maury. Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. ISBN 978-0-679-44747-4; Pages 92, 93, 108, 109: Wagner, Margaret E., Gary W. Gallagher, and Paul Finkelman. The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, Inc., 2009 edition. ISBN 978-1-4391-4884-6. First Published 2002; Pages 258, 323, 345, 349: Long, Jeff. Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1990. ISBN 978-0-688-07252-0; Pages 73, 166, 326: Borneman, Walter R. Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America. New York: Random House, 2008. ISBN 978-1-4000-6560-8; Pages 42, 196, 210: Eisenhower, John S. D. So Far from God: The U.S. War with Mexico, 1846-1848. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-8061-3279-2. Originally published New York: Random House, 1989; Pages 128, 345, 452: Merry, Robert W. A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, The Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009. ISBN 978-0-7432-9742-1; and Pages 6, 182: Potter, David M. completed and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848 – 1861. New York: Harper Perennial, reprint 2011. First published New York, Harper Colophon, 1976. ISBN 978-0-06-131929-7. I do own all of these books and I did check every page cited. Wikipedia's title goes back to a misinterpretation of Jimmy Wales original capitalization principal that only the first word of a title should be capitalized, with a few exceptions. The overwhelming use of this phrase with both words capitalized fits the exceptions. The current title is out of step with reliable sources and academic uses. It doesn't even look right. If I had seen this request for comment before it had closed, I obviously would have favored the move to a title with both words capitalized. Donner60 (talk) 08:26, 4 May 2016 (UTC)