Manifest Destiny and U.S. Expansionism

analytical Essay
864 words
864 words

In year 1845, journalist John L. O’Sullivan used the phrase “manifest destiny” in an article to support the U.S. right to occupy new territories, saying: “[that claim is by the right of] our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us” (Boyer 388). O’Sullivan proposed the idea that the expansion of the United States wouldn’t happen if it was not supposed to. The topic created a big controversy whether the Manifest Destiny confers the United States the destiny to expand or it is an excuse to take other people’s land (Allard par. 1). U.S. population was growing up in a fast pace; thus, the union was expanding to more and more territories – either “by purchase or negotiation or as a result of war” (Allard par. 4). As O’Sullivan put it forward, “it was ‘manifest,’ or evident that the United States was destined by God to spread its rule across the continent” (Allard par. 6). Many people embraced the new idea and the mission to occupy new lands, often with “an optimistic faith in human nature and progress toward a better society and the achievement of great dreams” (Allard par. 8). They believed American society, culture, and political institutions are superior to other nations (Allard par. 8); therefore, they’re bringing enlightenment. In order to gain new territory and bring progress, a huge numbers of Indians had to be moved out. However, as Phil Allard notes, “it was also accepted by many” in the name of Manifest Destiny (par. 9). The Manifest Destiny played a great role in America’s territorial expansion during the 19th century. Allard says: “the notion of Manifest Destin... ... middle of paper ... ... that Constitution never expressly gave the country a right to acquire new land, so the government did not have the right to acquire territory” (Allard par. 68). Manifest Destiny had a great impact on the history of the United States and it’s expansion. However, the questions it revealed were disputable. The discussion about Manifest Destiny revealed many for and against arguments. Maybe, the opponents made the most persuasive argument as they claimed Americans can’t talk about accomplishing a destiny while they kill innocent natives. William Ellery Channing accurately describes in one of his letters to Henry Clay: “There is no necessity for crime. There is no fate to justify rapacious nations, any more than to justify gamblers and robbers, in plunder… We talk of accomplishing our destiny. So did the late conqueror of Europe [Napoleon Bonaparte]” (Allard par. 60).

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the discussion over manifest destiny divided the nation to supporters and opponents. some supporters saw a benefit in the expansion in securing the new nation.
  • Analyzes how opponents questioned the idea of manifest destiny and its practical consequences. they argued that overexpansion was a threat to the country.
  • Analyzes how manifest destiny had a great impact on the history of the united states and its expansion, but the questions it revealed were disputable.
  • Analyzes how john l. o'sullivan used the phrase "manifest destiny" in an article to support the u.s. right to occupy new territories.
Get Access