"Thomas Jefferson, the quintessential American dreamer, whose vision of the future republic had from the beginning stretched over the mountains to the Mississippi Valley, perhaps over the farther mountains to the great harbors on the Pacific, had called his envisioned nation ‘the Empire for Liberty.’ In retrospect we can see the contradiction that Jefferson and most of his contemporaries could not: the oxymoron of imperial power promoting the spread of ‘liberty.’"

— Robert Morgan, “There’s No True History of Westward Expansion.”