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Manifest Destiny Essay, Research Paper


Manifest Destiny took place in the US in the mid-1800. Manifest Destiny was used among the Americans in the 1840’s as a defense for U.S. territorial expansion. It is the presumption that God had destined the American people to at divine mission of American movement and conquest in the name of Christianity and democracy. In order to understand manifest destiny we must first find its’ origin. John O’Sullivan first initiated manifest destiny into America in 1845. This New York editor wrote the phrase that captured this mood when he attempted to explain American’s thirst for westward expansion he wrote: the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly expanding millions.” There are two components that make up manifest destiny. One is the religious influence and the other is the need and desire for westward expansion.

Manifest Destiny was based on the ideal that Americans had the divine right from God to expand its’ borders with no limit on area or country. For some it was the will of God for the expansionist to spread throughout the country to control and populate the country as they see fit. It did not matter to the expansionist if people such as the Indians were living on that particular piece of land. The expansionist just saw it as they were doing God’s work. The expansionist pushed many Native Americans to also move westward to escape conflict with these so-called followers of God’s will. Some Native American’s did not just turn their heads and allow the expansionist to take the land that so righteously belonged to them. The Native Americans did fight back on some occasions however the Native Americans could not withhold any longer and subsided to the Americans control. The expansionist forced many of the Native Americans on reservations as they continued to move westward to dominate what the expansionist thought was theirs to dominate.

While some were driven on what they believe was God’s will others saw Manifest Destiny as the historical inevitability domination of North America from sea to sea. Before, manifest destiny, many Americans had small families not by choice, but for the mere fact that many of the people would die before they would reach forty. By the mid 1800’s technology began to rise, and the life span for many Americans increased. The U.S. population grew from more than 5 million in 1800 to more than 23 million by the mid century. By the increasing of families in town many of the towns became overcrowded. At this point many Americans looked to the west for possible permanent homes. To others Americas manifest destiny was s looked west for economic gain. The land westward-represented wealth, income, self-sufficiency, and freedom. No one really knew what laid west to them, but many of these people were very adventurerous and took the journey west. By the 1840’s expansion westward was at its’ highest.

Many Americans traveled the Santa Fe Trail or the Oregon Trail. Many merchant-traders who took manufactured good from Santa Fe to exchange for furs and other items available there used the Santa Fe Trail. William Becknell, a Missouri trader, first discovered the trail. He opened the Santa Fe trial as a commercial route between what was then the western reaches of the United States and New Mexico. For other adventurers the Oregon Trail seemed to be their source of travel. In 1845 approximately 5,000 traveled the Oregon Trail to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The Oregon Trail was the longest pioneer trail that went west. It was a long travel that was approximately 2,00 miles. Many people died on the way, but the thirst for wealth over exceeded the rate of survival. The Santa Fe Trail and The Oregon Trail contributed to many Americans outlook on the westward expansion.

Manifest Destiny was a very historic event that was responsible for making America grow. It helped bring about new inventions such as the wagon in 1831. It also helped open paths for the railroad. Because of manifest destiny Americas driven right for expansion and exploration will never die.

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