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What Drove America to Manifest Destiny

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Manifest destiny is the idea that Americans had, and have, the inherent right to expand the United States from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. As we know, this eventually happened, but it took a lot of time, money, blood, and effort in order to achieve this divine goal. We take for granted the size and span of our country, when for a good part of the 19th century, we shared the land mass with Spanish Mexico. It’s important to understand what drove us to pursue this goal, and the struggles that we encountered in obtaining, exploring, and settling the land. Europeans, for centuries, have been obsessed with the idea of conquest. It brings a person honor and glory to fight to defend the homeland, and to conquer new lands to expand empires. We think of ourselves as Americans today, but during the country’s conception, we were still European, and this idea was brought along with us. This allowed people to justify the idea of manifest destiny, and adding a religious element to that dream was just icing on the cake in terms of getting the population geared up for westward expansion. The term “Manifest Destiny” became “first and foremost a call and justification for an American form of imperialism.” (Scott, “Religious Origins”) The Americans believed that obtaining that land was their God-given right, no matter who was living there previously. There were many obstacles that the Americans faced when expanding westward. The first and foremost among those was the fact that they had to somehow obtain the land from the people already living there. This involved dealing, or fighting, with several different groups of people. We had to fight against Spanish Mexico in the Mexican-American War, which involved the deaths of 13,000 American... ... middle of paper ... ...atives already living there, but at the same time, we are giving the American citizens more opportunities to expand. Our population is expanding rapidly, but for now, we have more than enough land to accommodate it. There are pros and cons to following the dream of Manifest Destiny, but without it, we would be nowhere near the level of advancement that we have achieved today. Works Cited Scott, Donald M. “The Religious Origins of Manifest Destiny.” Divining America, TeacherServe©. National Humanities Center. Dec. 2013. “The Mexican-American War”. U.S. History Online Textbook. USHistory.org. Dec. 2013. “Louisiana Purchase Treaty”. General Records of the U.S. Government. National Archives. April 30, 1803. Dec. 2013. Turner, Frederick Jackson. “The Significance of the Frontier” Skagit River Journal. 1893. Dec. 2013. “Old West Legends”. Legends of America. Dec. 2013.
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