The Manifest Destiny

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The United States of America, from even before the time of it's founding, had seen far past its borders. This belief, labeled Manifest Destiny, was an explanation or justification for that expansion and westward movement. But as the sprawling country reached the western coast, growing in power and strength, its ideas on expansion shifted. The policies of the late-1800's and early 1900's were not all that different from the policies and ideas of past growth. Yet they did contain new ideas about where to go, how to carry these policies out successfully, and why expansion was justified, which can be understood in the political, economic, and geographical aspects on the expansion One of the main differences in the early expansion belief of the Manifest Destiny and the later belief of the 1890's and early 1900's was that the land, for the most part and at least officially, belonged to the Americans. It started with the fruits of the Louisiana Purchase, to the lands that would later be ceded to America in the Mexican American war. The progression went right from East to West, all the way to the California seaboard. Still the sentiment of expansion had lived on, even after the Turner Proclamation declaring the West, 'closed.' This sentiment lived in the form of jingoism, or extreme patriotism by national policy. For example, two American sailors were killed in the streets of Chile. This prompted President Harrison to invite Congress to declare war in the case that Chile would not apologize. On the Sandwich Islands, better known as Hawaii, the newest Hawaiian ruler, Queen Lil, made it clear she would shake off white American settler control. Settlers asked for American intervention, which led to a group of Marines running ashore and raising the American flag over the islands. The question of annexation of the islands became a huge platform in the election of 1896, whereby the winner; President McKinley promised annexation of the Hawaiian Islands. Cuba had been an island under Spanish control for years, fighting for independence. Under the control of Commander Weyler, the Cubans were detained with the policy of 'reconcentration.' With help from the press exaggerating much of cruelties, the American public called for intervention. The ultimate result was a war with Spain and the eventual question over Cuba and the Philippines. The expansionist feeling had never really died after the closing of the West; it just refocused on land that did not rightfully belong to America.

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