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The Legacy of Manifest Destiny: U.S. American Ideals and Wal-Mart

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Abstract:

John L. O’Sullivan coined the phrase “manifest destiny” in 1845 to represent a set of ideals present in the United States at that time. These ideals included: the notion of westward expansionism, a belief in American exceptionalism, a sense of entitlement to the North American continent, and a religious/moral obligation to spread American democracy. In this paper, I explore the historical dimensions of manifest destiny and consider how it influences domestic policy today. Because manifest destiny embodies expansionist ideas, I connect this ideology to the phenomenon of suburban sprawl. Suburban sprawl has affected the look and feel of the American landscape, influencing the development of new architectural forms such as “big box” grocery retailers, the largest being Wal-Mart.
As a way to better understand this ideology, I conduct rhetorical criticism on two Wal-Mart television advertisements featuring the company’s newest slogan: “Save Money. Live Better.” Aside from promoting the perceived monetary benefits of shopping at Wal-Mart, these messages invite us to spread and expand regardless, or in denial of, negative consequences of these actions. Both of these commercial represent manifest destiny in the ways in which they encourage viewers to embrace freedom and conquest. These rhetorical texts connect to the idea of manifest destiny from the past, and this shapes our understanding of what it means to be American in the United States today.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

destini (99), manifest (98), american (77), wal (66), mart (66), wal-mart (63), sprawl (35), p (34), legaci (27), state (27), suburban (26), new (24), ideolog (24), live (24), car (23), better (22), compani (22), save (22), unit (22), 2003 (21), idea (21),

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manifest destiny, Wal-Mart, rhetorical criticism, U.S. American history
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Name: NCA 94th Annual Convention
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MLA Citation:

Petre, Elizabeth. "The Legacy of Manifest Destiny: U.S. American Ideals and Wal-Mart" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NCA 94th Annual Convention, TBA, San Diego, CA, Nov 20, 2008 <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p257825_index.html>

APA Citation:

Petre, E. A. , 2008-11-20 "The Legacy of Manifest Destiny: U.S. American Ideals and Wal-Mart" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NCA 94th Annual Convention, TBA, San Diego, CA Online <PDF>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p257825_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: John L. O’Sullivan coined the phrase “manifest destiny” in 1845 to represent a set of ideals present in the United States at that time. These ideals included: the notion of westward expansionism, a belief in American exceptionalism, a sense of entitlement to the North American continent, and a religious/moral obligation to spread American democracy. In this paper, I explore the historical dimensions of manifest destiny and consider how it influences domestic policy today. Because manifest destiny embodies expansionist ideas, I connect this ideology to the phenomenon of suburban sprawl. Suburban sprawl has affected the look and feel of the American landscape, influencing the development of new architectural forms such as “big box” grocery retailers, the largest being Wal-Mart.
As a way to better understand this ideology, I conduct rhetorical criticism on two Wal-Mart television advertisements featuring the company’s newest slogan: “Save Money. Live Better.” Aside from promoting the perceived monetary benefits of shopping at Wal-Mart, these messages invite us to spread and expand regardless, or in denial of, negative consequences of these actions. Both of these commercial represent manifest destiny in the ways in which they encourage viewers to embrace freedom and conquest. These rhetorical texts connect to the idea of manifest destiny from the past, and this shapes our understanding of what it means to be American in the United States today.


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