The Philosophy of Manifest Destiny, Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim

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In this piece, Karl Marx is trying to answer the question “where consciousness comes from?” beginning with the existence of living human. He is trying to persuade readers through empirical evidence. Marx (1845-46) argues that human beings are different from animals because they have consciousness. They are different from animals in the sense that they develop means of sustaining their livelihood. This step of developing means of survival is part of their natural existence. It, therefore, forms part of their actual livelihood through socialization. This statement implies that human beings, unlike animals, are conscious of their environment. They try to develop means of sustenance through a social organization which forms part of their livelihood.

Marx (1845-46, p. 47) states “it is not consciousness that determines life, but life that determines consciousness.” I believe Marx meant was that a person’s economic situation, not their free will, determines their consciousness existence. Marx believed in the power of outside forces to shape our view of the world and ourselves.

A phrase coined in 1845, Manifest Destiny expressed the philosophy that led the United States territorial expansion in the 19th century. Manifest Destiny held that the United States was destined to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism throughout the North American continent, according to its advocates, by god. In 1845, the United States of America annexed Texas, which in the Texas Revolution of 1836 gained independence from the Republic of Mexico.

Durkheim’s theory is based on the individual’s place in society. In his work, “The Rules of Sociological Method,” Emile Durkheim (1904) outlines a scientific approach to sociology. In addition, his writings are aimed to establish sociology as a social. Durkheim suggests that there are two key aspects that justify sociology as a science. Unlike the other social sciences like psychology or even philosophy, sociology has a specific object of study; social facts. If sociology has a specific object of study, then it must also have a respectable and objective method that can be used to study the social facts being observed. Durkheim believed that we cannot understand human behaviors by only looking at the individual but that we must examine the social forces that influence people’s lives. Durkheim (1904) argues that social facts are any values or structures that become social constraints to the individuals within the society, anything from having a job to going to school to eating dinner at six in the evening. Social facts exist outside one’s individual self. Though certain duties, in “The Rules of Sociological Method” Durkheim mentions being a brother, husband, and citizen, one knows there are certain obligations that accompany them and so, cultures and social roles born.

In 1904 president Roosevelt presented to Congress his fourth annual message, his corollary to the Monroe Doctrine. In his speech, he said, “it is our duty to remember that a nation has no more right to do injustice to another nation, strong or weak.”

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