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Manifest Destiny Essay, Research Paper

Manifest Destiny

What does the painting Manifest Destiny represent? Does it show an image of hope, or one of despair? To answer a question like this one would have to understand what manifest destiny is.

Manifest destiny was a term first used by an American journalist, John Louis O’Sullivan. The term describes the inevitable territorial expansion of the United States of America to take over the rest of North America. The painting shows exactly this by illustrating the westward expansion of the U.S.A. during the 1800s. If you look closely at the picture you can see the trains headed west as well as wagons.

Manifest Destiny is what one could call a form of American nationalism. During the 1800s, and maybe a little now, many if not most Americans believed that Manifest Destiny was God’s will. This is where the giganto woman comes in. She represents some kind of heavenly personality, maybe an angel or something. As seen in the painting she is leading the expansion.

So, is the painting one of hope, or one of despair. I believe that it really depends on your point of view, whether you are a white American citizen, or Indian. To the American citizens it is a mission given to them by God. It provides hope. After all, what is hope? It is the feeling that what is wanted will happen. The American citizens in the painting are expanding westward under God’s will, and although facing tough times, are very hopeful of the future. As for the Indians, they are being driven away off their land, and the picture is one of despair.

The picture was painted not by an Indian, but by an American, so I would have to say that this is a picture of hope.

In modern days, some Americans have a sense of manifest destiny. For this reason, many fear that eventually Canada will become the 51st state.


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