Asia Is in America's DNA

Failing to play a dominant role in the Far East wouldn't just be foolish. It would change who we are.

Issue: March-April 2014

ON FEBRUARY 7, 1845, Congressman John D. Cummins rose in the House of Representatives to add his voice to those clamoring for U.S. possession of the Oregon Territory, then occupied jointly by the United States and Britain. He declared that these opulent Northwest lands were “the master key of the commerce of the universe.” Put that territory under U.S. jurisdiction, he argued, and soon the country would witness “an industrious, thriving, American population” and “flourishing towns and embryo cities” facing west upon the Pacific within four thousand miles of vast Asian markets.

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