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This article appears in the November 27, 2009 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

The Historic Mission of the United States

by Nancy Spannaus

[PDF version of this article]

"Go West, young man" was a popular admonition in the United States of the post-Civil War period, when the Transcontinental Railroad, industrialization, and millions of enterprising settlers moved across the vast territory of the country toward the Pacific Ocean, thus fulfilling the historic vision of the founders of the American Republic to establish a continental republic on these shores. Today, that admonition must be extended further, through a determination of the U.S. government to establish new partnerships for economic development with the nations of the Asian-Pacific and Indian-Ocean Basin, specifically, the nations of Russia, China, and India.

The establishment of the United States republic, from 1776 through 1865, provided a "beacon of hope" for rallying against the powers of Empire in the world, but that empire, now run through the supranational financial institutions of the world, still maintains a stranglehold over the planet, and threatens to bring it into an unspeakable devolution into a New Dark Age. Only the revival of the United States' anti-colonial mission, in concert with the nations of the Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean Basin, can now break the power of that monetarist empire, and bring an era of prosperity to the planet.

Lyndon LaRouche has long campaigned for this reorientation of U.S. policy. Back in 1983, he produced a policy document entitled "A Fifty-Year Development Policy for the Indian-Pacific Oceans Basin," which argued the necessity of orienting a world economic development program toward the region of the world with the largest population, and the greatest ration of poverty to be overcome—the Pacific Basin. Here is where the potential, and necessity, for the greatest growth exists, he argued. He revived this perspective once again after the fall of the Soviet Union, in 1991, putting forward the perspective of the Eurasian Land-Bridge, which represents the mission of bringing economic development to the vast interior regions of Asia, which have been left as centers of impoverishment and dissolution.

In the 2003-07 period, LaRouche refined this concept from the standpoint of pulling together a strategic alliance of sovereign powers which, collectively, could crush the British financial empire—proposing a Four Power agreement of Russia, China, India, and the United States, as the core of a new world financial system, oriented toward economic development, and an alliance for stymying the perpetual warfare policy of the British Empire.

As of October of this year, with the signing of a number of ground-breaking economic agreements between Russia and China, the first concrete step toward such an arrangement was taken. This advance, occurring as it does, in the midst of the most dramatic disintegration of the world financial system, especially in the United States and Western Europe, puts the question even more urgently to the United States, to join in a Four Power alliance. Despite the seemingly impossible situation posed by having a de facto British puppet in the White House, and a Congress so corrupt as to virtually kowtow to this President, patriotic institutions and individuals around the Presidency have no choice but to rally around LaRouche's Four Power perspective, as the unique means of saving not only their own nation, but the planet as a whole.

To reach a Four Power agreement, demands that the U.S. orient to the Pacific-Indian Oceans Basin. Here, in the nations of Russia, China, and India, you have proud sovereign states, which, despite the fact that they are operating within, and are crippled by, the global imperialist monetary system, maintain national identities, not to mention the sizeable populations, which impel them toward resisting the depradations of the British Empire. Note, for example, India and China's resistance to the genocide being sold as measures for "climate change." Contrast this with the European system, where the City of London-dominated European Community runs a financial dictatorship over the member nations, which have adopted an ideology, and reality, of Green depopulation and death; with Africa, which remains, to this day, a brutalized colony of the British Empire, a mere source of raw materials to be wrested from its land and its people; or with Ibero-America, which is still dominated by the crippling cultural heritage of being subjects of the imperial Habsburgs.

As LaRouche recently put it, "Europe is essentially dead. It's captive territory of the British Empire. South and Central America are captives of the drug rings." They are all British-dominated, and the only area where you can initiate the changes required to save the planet, is the Pacific-Indian Oceans Basin, of which the United States, still hereditarily the world's leading republic, is an integral part.

In taking up this mission, the United States will, in fact, be fulfilling the promise and commitment of its earliest Founding Fathers, those of the 15th-Century Italian Renaissance, and the 17th-Century Massachusetts Bay Colony. An understanding of that mission was the driving force behind those who built the United States into a continental power extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, most crucially, John Quincy Adams. The idea was expanded by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt—and must be renewed today. In the following pages, we present a summary of the case for the immediate adoption of this Pacific Orientation Policy, as a cornerstone of the strategy for survival from otherwise onrushing disaster.

Start with the General Welfare

Our Manifest Destiny lies in Classical Greek civilization, its unique contribution to global civilization. It lies in the role of Christianity, especially the Apostles, like John and Paul, in taking this Greek Classical legacy, and using this as the tool of Christianity, to improve the condition of mankind, as the Renaissance did later.

We need to develop the nation-state, the idea that a national government has no moral authority, except as it is founded on an absolute commitment to promote and defend the General Welfare of all of its people, including their posterity.

This statement of the historic purpose of the United States was delivered in a policy speech by Lyndon LaRouche during his 2000 Presidential campaign. In that speech, LaRouche identified the specific role played in developing the idea of a moral nation-state, by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, the preeminent scientist of the 15th Century. Cusa, in his writings on "Catholic Concordance," put forward the concept that all legitimate power of the state depends upon the consent of the governed, and that the purpose of that state, and its elected officials, or counselors, was to provide for the general welfare. Those who govern "ought to constantly defend the good of the public which they represent," Cusa argued.[1]

It became clear to the Cardinal, however, that it would not be possible to fulfill his vision of a moral sovereign nation-state in oligarchy-dominated Europe. Rather, he conspired with friends to spread the idea of establishing colonies in the New World. Among those collaborators was Paolo Toscanelli, known as the author of a map of the spherical Earth, which Columbus used on his first voyage.

Toscanelli's map found its way into the hands of an Italian-born sea captain, then operating in Portugal, named Christopher Columbus. Through Toscanelli's associate Fernão Martins, Columbus entered into a correspondence with Toscanelli, and, ultimately, received backing from the Spanish throne to fulfill Cusa's goal of travelling to the New World.

Unfortunately, however, Cusa's vision of establishing sovereign nation-states devoted to the general welfare, could not be realized in Hispanic America. Those who emigrated to Central and South America had not thrown off the cultural domination of the imperial system which ruled their culture in Europe, specifically that of the Habsburg dynasty. That dynasty treated its subjects like beasts, and inculcated that very servile, often racist mentality within them—the very antithesis of the republican idea that man is defined by his ability to reason, and to improve both his knowledge and his lot, and that of his fellow man.

Instead, the first solidly republican experiment, in the spirit of Nicholas of Cusa, that took root in Americas, occurred in the Massachusetts Bay colony, nearly 130 years after Columbus's voyage. Under a small group of Englishmen, whose leader, John Winthrop, was an eloquent speaker, a group of 800 men, women, and children travelled to what became New England to establish what Winthrop called "a City upon a hill," which was devoted to the following mission: "The end is double, moral and natural, that man might enjoy the fruits of the earth and God might have his due glory from the creature. Why then should we stand here striving for places of habitation ... and in the meantime suffer a whole Continent, as fruitful and convenient for the use of man, to lie waste without any improvement?"

Winthrop's settlement immediately set about improving the land and the conditions of his people. Within a few years, a university was established, and the first public system of compulsory elementary education put in place. A constitutional government was established, which acted to stimulate local manufacture and technological progress, including the creation of an iron works which almost immediately far out-produced the best works in England. The Massachusetts Bay government also minted and printed its own currency, in order to provide credit for industry and commerce. It moved to provide for its own defense, with a militia and fortifications. In short, until the experiment was crushed by King Charles II, and then, the takeover of England by William and Mary, Massachusetts represented a model for republican self-government, along the lines Cusa had laid out, which itself had an eye to expansion throughout the continent.[2]

Given the leading role played by that child of Boston, Benjamin Franklin, in shaping the battle for, and ultimate establishment of, the republican government of the United States, it should not be properly surprising that the foundations of our government, from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, continue that Massachusetts Bay republican tradition. We are the only nation on the planet committed, by Constitutional law, to the pursuit of the General Welfare, for ourselves and our posterity, as a principle of organizing our society.

Becoming a Continental Republic

The fledgling American Republic, dedicated to principles directly counter to those of the European oligarchy, had the advantage of being separated by a large body of water from those who would destroy it. But mere physical separation was not enough. The United States was weak and isolated in the wake of winning its independence, and lived in constant danger of being crushed by those empires that still operated in the Western Hemisphere, surrounding it on every side. To gain the strength necessary to defend itself, and its republican mode of government, leading American patriots adopted the strategy of moving west, with the ultimate aim of developing all the territory, up to the Pacific Ocean.

One of the clearest ways to grasp this policy is to see it through the eyes, and actions, of John Quincy Adams, a son of Massachusetts who had grown up steeped in both his colony's republican heritage, but also in close collaboration with the elder statesman-philosopher Benjamin Franklin. It is no exaggeration to say that John Quincy Adams personally negotiated nearly the entire shape of the continental United States, from its borders with Florida and Canada, to its expansion to the Pacific Coast. He did so first as a Senator; then as Ambassador to Russia and England; as President James Monroe's Secretary of State from 1816 to 1824; and then, as President, when he ordered the Army to plan America's first railroads.

Adams' motivations were both defensive, and positive. He expressed the first view to his mother, Abigail, in 1811, on the eve of the War of 1812, in a letter attacking the treasonous Essex Junto of New England. He wrote:

If that [Federalist] Party are not effectually put down in Massachusetts, as completely as they already are in New York, and Pennsylvania, and all the southern and western states, the Union is gone. Instead of a nation coextensive with the North American continent, destined by God and nature to be the most populous and most powerful people ever combined under one social compact, we shall have an endless multitude of little insignificant clans and tribes at eternal war with one another for a rock, or a fish pond, the sport and fable of European masters and oppressors.[3]

At that time, those European "masters and oppressors" who had footholds on the North American continent, included Great Britain, Spain, France, and Russia. All but Russia, with which John Quincy Adams had formed a close relationship during a visit in his youth, as well as his ambassadorship there from 1809 to 1814, were determined to cut off the United States from westward expansion, and/or otherwise "cut it down to size." For example, during the negotiations at Ghent, Belgium, for a peace treaty at the conclusion of the War of 1812, the British were conniving to cut off large parts of New England, and to shut off the western frontier, if possible by extending the Canadian border all the way down to the Ohio River. As part of the negotiating team there, Quincy Adams played a crucial role in outmaneuvering the British strategy—helped immensely, of course, by the victories of the American Navy on Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes.

But Adams was inspired more profoundly by a deep understanding of the universal significance of the American Revolution and its unique principles of government. Adams often referred to this principle as the "anticolonial" principle. In a speech celebrating the Fourth of July in 1821, he put it this way:

In a conflict [of] seven years, the history of the war by which you maintained that Declaration, became the history of the civilized world.... It was the first solemn declaration by a nation of the only legitimate foundation of civil government. It was the cornerstone of a new fabric, destined to cover the surface of the globe. It demolished at a stroke, the lawfulness of all governments founded upon conquest. It swept away all the rubbish of accumulated centuries of servitude. From the day of this Declaration, the people of North America were no longer the fragment of a distant empire, imploring justice and mercy from an inexorable master in another hemisphere.... They were a nation, asserting as of right, and maintaining by war, its own existence. A nation was born in a day.... It stands, and must for ever stand, alone, a beacon on the summit of the mountain, to which all the inhabitants of the earth may turn their eyes for a genial and saving light ... a light of salvation and redemption to the oppressed.[4]

In a letter to Edward Everett, dated Jan. 31, 1822, Adams wrote that colonial establishments "are incompatible with the essential character of our institutions," and concluded that "great colonial establishments are engines of wrong, and that in the progress of social improvement it will be the duty of the human family to abolish them, as they are now endeavoring to abolish the slave trade." The message was not missed by the Russian imperial minister, who reported it to have been "a virulent diatribe against England."

It was from this self-conception of the United States that Adams formulated his concept of relations with other nations. He, like Nicholas of Cusa before him, emphasized supporting other nations in their drive toward republican institutions and political and commercial independence from Europe. He advocated treaties of commerce and amity on the basis of the most-favored-nation status, or, if possible, a reciprocal equality of nations in each other's ports. The U.S. stood for "civil, political, commercial, and religious liberty," and intended that its relations with other nations would spread such principles. As he put it in discussing his policy for relations with South American nations, "its foundations must be laid in principles of politics and of morals new and distasteful to the thrones and dominations of the elder world, but coextensive with the surface of the globe and lasting as the changes of time."[5]

In other words—the basis for cooperation among nations was a joint commitment to resist the imperial powers of Europe!

It was from this standpoint, that Adams negotiated the crucial agreements of 1818, 1819, and 1824, which set the northern, southeastern, and western borders of the United States. The 1818 convention with Great Britain preserved the U.S. stake on the Oregon coast, and codified the 49th parallel northern border up to the Rocky Mountains. The 1819 Treaty of Onis, in which Spain ceded territory along the 42nd parallel, all the way to the Pacific Coast, was considered by Adams to have been the most important accomplishment of his life. The 1824 agreement with Russia eliminated that empire's claim to territory down to the Columbia River in the Northwest, thus leaving the way clear for the extension of the 49th parallel northern border, all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Across the Pacific

Once secure in its borders, especially after the Civil War assault by the British Empire had failed, the United States looked both South to the Americas, and East across the Pacific, for partners in commerce and economic development. We were helped by the tremendous enthusiasm for the American industrial model which spread throughout the world, an enthusiasm which was explicitly promoted by the circles around Abraham Lincoln, such as Henry C. Carey, E. Peshine Smith, and many others of their circle. As a result of the work of these circles, we soon saw the takeoff of national industrial economies, complete with railroads, heavy industry, and other modernizations, in Germany, Russia, China, and Japan, among other nations.

The history of America's attempts to cooperate with, and develop, these nations is voluminous, and little known, but worth summarizing here. Take the cases of Russia and China, our two prospective partners today.

Even before the Civil War, the writings of the American System economists, who promoted the policies of republicanism and industrialization epitomized by John Quincy Adams, had spread widely in Russia, through the work of Abraham Lincoln's chief economic advisor, Henry C. Carey. After the Civil War was won, the Careyites greatly expanded their contacts with Russia, to the explict end of helping Russia develop its vast territory, especially with railroads. The purpose was strategic, as well as economic, of course: As U.S. Gen. Joshua T. Owen put it, during an 1869 send-off dinner for the new American ambassador to Russia: Through this collaboration in industrialization, Russia and the U.S. could "outflank the movement made by France and England, for predominance in the East through the Suez Canal; and America and Russia can dictate peace to the world."

This American-Russia collaboration only deepened over the last decades of the 19th Century, with the convening of the American Centennial Exposition in 1876, and the deployment of U.S. industrialists to aid in the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which was seen as a means of providing more direct relations between the U.S. and Russia, including outflanking the British control of the seas.

During the period that Count Sergei Witte served as Finance Minister of Russia, collaboration between the U.S. and Russia on what was considered the Land-Bridge of the day, was extensive and intensive. Even more upsetting to the British Empire than the combination of these two land giants was the fact that they were working to bring China into the rail network projects. Witte and the Americans conspired to build a spur of the rail through Chinese Manchuria, a route that would considerably shorten the travel distance to the Pacific. In 1898, the Russians had ordered a massive amount of equipment from the Americans in order to proceed with the Manchurian Railroad: 168 locomotives from the Baldwin works in Philadelphia; 1,900 tons of bridge-girders from Carnegie Steel, 15,000 shovels from the Wyoming Shovel works—and on and on.[6]

China, which had suffered the direct assault of the British to destroy its people in the Opium Wars, was a natural ally of the United States, the premier opponent of the British Empire.

The potential for this alliance, bound by railways of steel, between Russia, China, and the United States struck deadly fear in the heart of the British Empire, then, the greatest military and financial power of the world. By geopolitical maneuvers, the British were able to break it then, but the danger of its reemergence persisted through the 20th Century. Not only were the Americans in the Carey-Lincoln tradition the direct inspirers and collaborators of Sun Yat-sen, the father of the Chinese republic, but the Americans kept providing support for the resistance to the British colonial domination in Russia and China. This reality was underscored during World War II, when Franklin Roosevelt forged close working bonds with Soviet leader Josef Stalin, as well as China's Chiang Kai-shek, not only as a means of defeating the war aims of the Axis powers, but explicitly in support of Russia and China's aspirations for industrialization, and uplifting their populations.

The Four Powers Today

Those Americans who upheld the principles of John Quincy Adams—Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in particular—found themselves continually countered by the machinations of de facto British agents, located not only on Wall Street, but often in leading institutions of the United States government. Even our own development of the western lands was continually sabotaged, to the point that we have many regions of the western United States which are pathetically underpopulated and underdeveloped, thus limiting our potential to provide the proper assistance to those billions of people to our west, who are even more in need of improved standards of life.

Thanks to the British, and their successful manipulation of their puppet Presidents, such as Teddy Roosevelt, our nation was brought into direct conflict with Japan, and steered into the so-called Cold War with Russia, which had its derivative, proxy conflicts throughout Asia, among other places. The post-World War II period, which FDR had envisioned to be the opportunity for the end of colonialism, once and for all, was turned, instead, into the occasion for the imposition of a new form of imperialism, this time, operated through a global monetarist system, which stripped sovereignty from all nations, including the United States.

We have now reached the time when this system, which has bankrupted itself, is threatening to bring the entire world into depopulation, and death. Even the United States, the only republic to have defied the British Empire and won, has been weakened to the point that it cannot defeat that financial empire on its own. Where do we look for allies, in order to prevent disaster for ourselves, and mankind?

The answer, which LaRouche also gave in the early 1980s, is: the Pacific. There, in China, India, and Russia, we find the two most populous nations in the world, combined with large deposits of mineral wealth. Most of the population, of course, is very, very poor—and their life expectancy is insecure because of it. But, they are eager to work and improve their lives. Each country also has developed unique qualifications to contribute to mutual rapid development of the region: the Russians, the scientific capability of developing the mineral resources of the Siberian-Arctic region; the Chinese, the mastery of high-speed rail technology; the Indians, the mastery of the thorium nuclear cycle and other associated technologies. But, as long as these nations fail to throw off the yoke of the global British-style monetary system, and replace it with an American System-style credit system, they can not do the job required. Both the current dollar system, and the collapse of the dollar system, will kill them.

The solution lies with the Four Power alliance proposed by LaRouche, an agreement among these Pacific-based nation-states to finally bury the British imperial system, and replace it with a new, fixed-exchange-rate system, bolstered by the adoption of national banking systems in all nations, and united by the determination of realize a common mission: an era of scientific progress that looks ahead 50 years, to the colonization of space, and finally realizes man's aspirations to be truly human, in cooperation with his fellow man.

[1] William Wertz, "The Christian Roots of the 'Ideas of 1776,' " Fidelio, Spring 1992.

[2] H. Graham Lowry, How the Nation Was Won (Washington, D.C: EIR, 1988), passim.

[3] Samuel Flagg Bemis, John Quincy Adams and the Foundation of American Foreign Policy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1950).

[4] Nancy Spannaus, "John Quincy Adams and the Community of Principle," EIR, Jan. 28, 2000.

[5] Bemis, op. cit., p. 361.

[6] For a historical review of the United States' collaboration with Russia, China, and other nations in the late 19th Century, see EIR, May 2, 1997.

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