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CSPAN in attendance for Vanden Houten Community Lecture Series event

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Vanden Houten
Flagler College Associate Professor Arthur Vanden Houten speaks in front of CSPAN cameras at the May 7 Community Lecture Series event.

May 7, 2013

Flagler College Associate Professor Arthur Vanden Houten spoke on May 7 in front of CSPAN cameras to a standing room only audience of students, professors and community members as part of Flagler College’s Community Lecture Series.

Vanden Houten’s lecture discussed Henry Flagler and Florida politics and focused mainly on what Vanden Houten referred to as “the rise of America's global ambition.”

The political science professor elaborated on what he saw as the two main reasons for this rise.

“There was this enduring faith that captivated the people from the time they first to came to the shores, this notion that America had this special privileged role ordained by the Almighty, to hold a special role in the course of human events,” he said. “But the other reason really was the potential for great profit.”

Vanden Houten explained that this concept of “manifest destiny,” the belief that American settlers were destined to expand across the continent, would guide the continual push past new frontiers in the New World, including Florida.

“Florida was seen as a place where men could invest their time, energy and will and ultimately turn its forest into a civilization,” said Vanden Houten. “Henry Flagler certainly typified that idea and his railroads made him one of the decisive figures in the development of the state.”

The lecture will air on CSPAN-American History TV. An airdate has not yet been set.

The Community Lecture Series will continue on May 17 with "The Modern Wonder of the Ancient City: The Myth and the Marvel of the Hotel Ponce de Leon,” presented by Leslee Keys, an instructor in history and director of Community Outreach for Public History in the Department of Humanities at Flagler College.