Manifest Destiny was the belief that it was the United States’ destiny to expand west through North America. They believed God granted them the right to settle and defend this territory. Manifest Destiny, a phrase coined in 1845, expressed the philosophy that drove 19th-century U.S. territorial expansion. (Manifest Destiny 2018). This belief was the basis for US annexation of western territories, some formerly being held by other countries as well as inhabited by Natives. The US did not care who or what was in its way, it was going to expand all the way west as was it’s destiny. Democrats endorsed manifest destiny, while opposing parties such as whigs opposed it.
The US wanted this Southwest territory for a couple of reasons. One of these is that they needed more land for better opportunities for factories and trading. The US was expanding rapidly, but needed a better surplus of things to export. They looked to foreign trading but realized that everything needed was in the area west of the current US. The US also wanted to spread their civilization to other people, as to expand the American way of life. Another defining factor was that the open door policy was made, giving the US and China much opportunity for trade. To expand West was ideal for 19th century Americans, and they were determined to make it a reality.
A few cultures were affected by manifest destiny. The white farmers were affected positively, as they now had millions more acres of land to settle and farm on. The farmers definitely benefited from manifest destiny. Another culture was greatly affected by this belief, although negatively, are the Native Americans. This was their home, land, and way of life that was at stake. As the white immigrants moved farther and farther west they took little mind to the Indians’ territories and pushed them out of their homes, relocating them to reservations that were supposed to be the Natives’ permanent homes from then on. If they did not leave, they would be entirely wiped out. This led to a mass amount of Indians dying out and entire tribes disappearing from existence.
As the US continued to expand further west, Mexico had recently gained their independence. Mexico encouraged US citizens to settle in Texas territory and become Mexican citizens in order to gain more of a population to make it harder for the US to expand into Texas. This situation eventually backfired, as the settlers in Texas fought and won their independence. During the time of Texas being settled while still Mexican land, the US was becoming increasingly worried about the population arising in Texas. They feared that the outcome would be what Mexico wanted, and that they would not be able to annex Texas. Texas’ independence worked in favor of the US though, as they were able to annex it after 1 year. The border was still disputed by the US and Mexico because Mexico still had much of the land the US desired. As tensions grew, President Polk decided to provoke a war with Mexico in order to gain the land of Texas, New Mexico, and California.
The belief of Manifest Destiny shaped what the US is today. If it wasn’t for this, the US likely would have been a much smaller size than it is now. It provoked wars, but ultimately benefited in the US in the way our leaders had hoped. The US now had much more land to settle, farm, and industrialize on.
Manifest Destiny. History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2018, www.history.com/topics/westward-expansion/manifest-destiny.
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