Was Manifest Destiny Justified?

As United States increased their connections with the world, the drive for the it to expand territories westward increases as Americans gradually believe that economic development and territorial security of their countries can be consolidated by expansion. Manifest Destiny, a term that was used to describe this westward expansion movement, refers to a belief that destiny of American settlers was to expand and move across the continent to spread their traditions and their institutions, while at the same time enlightening more primitive nations. Although pioneers, businessmen, and military actions achieved great successes through the expansion, detrimental consequences were also brought to the continent. This paper will outline several benefits and costs of manifest destiny on United States. In the further step, the paper is going to claim and examine that the costs of manifest destiny outweigh its benefits in the framework of humanity.

New transportation methods are one positive results brought by the manifest destiny. With the increasing expansion to the west, new transportation methods were developed to maintain the connection and balance between places, providing employment and economic opportunities for many early settlers. The transportation improvements led to lower prices and easier shipping, in turn making the west even more accessible for trade and promoting more migration and movements such as California Gold Rush and the Mormons’ great migration for escaping from religious persecution. The transcontinental railroad, built by two railroad companies the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad, provided great economic improvements for America. According to GTG Technology Group, before the railroad, it took almost six months and cost $1000 to travel between California and New York. After the transcontinental railroad was completed, it only cost $150 and took one week between these places. $50 million worth of freight was shipping from coast to coast every year within ten years of the transcontinental railroad’s competition. The new improvements for transportation opened the large U.S territories for development and connect them from coast to cost, and create a faster route for cross-country commerce with Europe and Asia.

Territorial Expansion can be the most obvious results of the Manifest destiny. Under the concept of manifest destiny, America established its continental boundaries from the East to the West coasts through treaty, war, and purchases, becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world. The additional lands brought great opportunity for the United States in term of resources and population. When gold was discovered in California, it became a great destination in 1849 for those looking for opportunity and wealth.

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